Biden’s Judicial Pick Slammed for Allowing Transgender Child Rapist in Women’s Prison

Alina Kruk /

A Senate confirmation hearing turned into a full-blown circus over a Biden-appointed judge who thought it was a brilliant idea to send a 6’2″ transgender woman convicted of multiple child rapes to a women’s prison.

In August 2022, Judge Sarah Netburn of New York brushed off the Bureau of Prisons’ concerns for the safety of female inmates. She ordered July Justine Shelby—born William McLain—to be transferred to a women’s prison, requesting said transfer “to a female facility as soon as possible.”

Shelby, now 60, has a rap sheet that includes molesting a nine-year-old boy, raping a 17-year-old girl, serving 18 years in state prison, and then violating parole to earn another 15 years for distributing child porn. In April 2020, Shelby submitted a handwritten petition detailing her fears for her health, safety, and life, citing her struggle with gender dysphoria.
During Netburn’s federal judge confirmation hearing, Republican senators didn’t hold back.

Senator Ted Cruz went on the offensive, accusing Netburn of prioritizing her political ideology over the safety of other inmates. Senator John Kennedy chimed in, calling her a “political activist”—an accusation she naturally denied.

The hearing spiraled into chaos, with Cruz and freshman Senator Laphonza Butler clashing as she tried, and failed, to restore order.

Cruz, in his signature fiery style, put it bluntly: “You took a 6’2″ serial child rapist with male genitalia, and he said, ‘I’d like to be in a women’s prison,’ and your answer was ‘that sounds great to me.'”

He then grilled Netburn on whether the other women in that prison had any rights at all. Cruz said that she failed to take into account that female prisoners could be at risk of sexual assault. That someone would most likely have to room with Shelby and would not be given the choice to decline. Netburn defended her decision, claiming Shelby had “serious medical needs” and no history of violence since the initial 18-year sentence. She dismissed the Bureau of Prisons’ concerns as “overblown.”

Shelby pled guilty to raping children (molesting a 9-year-boy and raping a 17-year-old) in 1994. After serving 18 years, he violated parole, got imprisoned again, and then started hormone therapy to transition in 2015. But Shelby was back behind bars a year later for distributing child porn to a fellow sex offender he met in prison. Despite multiple failed legal attempts unrelated to gender claims, Netburn eventually ruled in Shelby’s favor, dismissing the risk to other inmates as “theoretical” and green-lighting the transfer.

According to a report by Keep Prisons Single Sex USA, there are about 1,980 transgender offenders in the federal system, with nearly half being transgender men convicted of sex offenses. Last year alone, the number of federal inmates identifying as transgender shot up by 23 percent.