Dozens of neighbors gathered Saturday to voice concerns over the Department of State Hospitals’ proposal to place two “Sexually Violent Predators” (SVP) at a home in the unincorporated area of El Cajon.
Parents are worried their kids could be targets as there are schools in the area.
“It’s hard I have to explain to them what an SVP means,” parent Sarah Thompson said. “They’re being rewarded for their bad behavior. You know, there are other people that would love to live here. Why them?”
Under California law, a “Sexually Violent Predator” has been convicted of a violent sex crime at least once, has been diagnosed with a mental disorder; making the person likely to re-offend.
Kathleen Hedberg is president of the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association. She spoke at Saturday’s protest.
“You do not place a diabetic in a candy store; you do not place a sexually violent predator in a family neighborhood,” Hedberg said. “You don’t put ‘em in the area where they’re most likely to reoffend.”
Douglas Badger, 78, -- who has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and sexual sadism -- has a history of sexual assaults dating back to 1974. He has spent nearly two decades in maximum security state hospitals.
Merle Wakefield was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 80s and 90s.
“We don’t think they’re going to get the type of monitoring that’s necessary to keep our families safe,” neighbor Tom Ash said.
Neighbors blame Liberty Healthcare which oversees the state’s sex offender reentry program. Neighbors said the homeowner doesn’t live at the home located on Horizon Hills Drive but will get paid to house the SVPs. It's unclear why they specifically chose the home.
Neighbors have gone as far as offering to buy the home to keep violent sex offenders out of it.
Badger’s case has gone before a judge and a decision is pending.
Wakefield’s hearing is on May 10.
Neighbors are encouraging each other to send opposition letters to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office “Safe Task Force”. The deadline to submit comments is Monday, April 26.