LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The so-called ``Pillowcase Rapist'' -- who admitted to raping 40 women between 1971 and 1982 -- should be housed in an unincorporated area near Palmdale upon his release, a judge ruled today, setting the stage for likely protests from residents.

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown ruled that serial rapist Christopher Hubbart would live at a home at 20315 E. Avenue R. The ruling begins a 45-day public comment period before the ruling is finalized.

Last fall, Brown ruled that Hubbard should live at a home east of Palmdale, prompting a public outcry that eventually led the property owner to withdraw the home from consideration. Legislation was also drafted to give counties the opportunity to actively participate in hearings before the release of sexually violent predators.

'`This is a matter of public safety,'' said District Attorney Jackie Lacey. ``I believe the residents of Los Angeles County deserve a voice in the process before a predator is released into our backyard.''

``In the future, we hope to be notified at the earliest possible time and allowed to vigorously oppose the release of sexually violent predators into our community," she said today.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who represents the Palmdale area, blasted the proposed release of Hubbart into the area.

``It's outrageous that an admitted sexual predator with a long history of brutal crimes against women will be released in this community -- or any community,'' he said. ``He belongs in an institution where he cannot prey upon the public.''

Upon his initial arrest in 1972 in Los Angeles, Hubbart was deemed a ``mentally disordered sex offender'' and sent to Atascadero State Hospital. He was released seven years later after doctors said he posed no further threat.

But over the next two years, he raped another 15 women in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to court documents. He was again imprisoned, then paroled in 1990. Hubbart subsequently was returned to prison after he accosted a woman in Santa Clara County.

Attorneys for Hubbart argued that their client's detention at Coalinga State Hospital in Santa Clara violated his rights to due process.

Last May, Brown ruled that Hubbart should be released and housed somewhere in Los Angeles County -- a decision that Lacey contended was in error. An appeals court and the state Supreme Court, however, declined to overturn Brown's ruling.

Hubbart lived in Santa Clara County in the years leading to his last arrest and no longer has family living in Los Angeles County. California law requires that a sexually violent predator be conditionally released to the county of his or her domicile ``prior to the person's incarceration,'' according to prosecutors.

Upon his release, Hubbart will be under strict supervision, including electronic monitoring.

Hubbart was born in Pasadena in 1951 and lived there for the first six years of his life, when he moved to Claremont, where he lived until 1971, according to the District Attorney's Office.