PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A judge Tuesday said he’d grant early release to a federal inmate who is eight months away from completing his 10-year sentence for sexually abusing five girls because of the man’s unusual vulnerability to contracting the coronavirus.
Harry Hintsala is 70, has kidney disease and must use a wheelchair, defense lawyer Stephen Sady said. He’s being held at the Lompoc federal prison in California, where 105 inmates have tested positive and two have died, Sady added.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Barr opposed any early release, as did the guardian of one of the victims.
Hinstala sexually abused the children on the Warm Springs Reservation over several years, Barr said. He was convicted of five counts of abusive sexual conduct and sentenced to two years for each count.
With credit for good time served, Hintsala has completed almost all of his sentence. His projected release date from prison is Jan. 26, 2021, with a scheduled transfer to a halfway house in July.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman said the pandemic warranted the granting of compassionate release for Hintsala. “I’m reluctant to do so but feel the statutory requirements have been met in this case,″ he said.
In practical terms he’ll be released to home detention about 30 days short of what would have been his release to the halfway house, Mosman said.
The judge directed Sady and probation officers to come up with a suitable release plan. He said he wouldn’t allow Hintsala to live at his daughter’s home.