LOS ANGELES — He can’t be alone outside after dark, needs permission to walk through his neighborhood or go to a bowling alley, and must allow random searches and polygraph tests. For the first time in roughly two decades, serial rapist Christopher Hubbart is free, so to speak, but that freedom comes with strict limitations.

Nicknamed the “Pillowcase Rapist” because he used a pillowcase to muffle his victims’ screams, Hubbart moved into his new home outside Palmdale this week despite protests from people in the community about 70 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The 63-year-old has acknowledged raping or assaulting 40 women between 1971 and 1983.

Guards stand watch around the clock to protect the public from him and him from those who have fought against his release for months. Protesters have camped outside the tiny home on a dusty plot this week as sheriff’s deputies patrolled outside every few hours.

Hubbart is one of a dozen people deemed sexually violent predators who are being monitored by the state-contracted Liberty Healthcare Corp.

Hubbart’s 16-page conditional release terms, at least initially, are a lot like house arrest.

“He’s not going anywhere on his own, and in fact he’s not even allowed to drive a car or take the bus, and probably won’t be at least for another year,” said Santa Clara County prosecutor Vonda Tracey. “If he’s going to the grocery store, somebody’s going with him. Somebody is driving him to his appointments. When he’s not got some place he needs to be, he’s at home, and he’s not allowed to leave the property.”

Hubbart must wear a GPS anklet and continue treatment, and he needs permission to work, use the Internet, or visit the park, beach or pool.