The owners of a Rancho Bernardo home where state hospital officials have proposed placing a 78-year-old man classified as a sexually violent predator are opposing his placement at their property.
In a letter to the judge overseeing the proposed placement of Douglas Badger, Bryan and Ming Zublin wrote that they could not consent to having Badger reside at their property "in good conscience."
Badger is classified as a sexually violent predator, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a condition that makes them likely to re-offend. After serving their prison sentences, SVPs may undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in supervised outpatient locations.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
Badger, whose victims were predominately male strangers, many of them hitchhikers, petitioned for release into the Conditional Release Program for sex offenders, which was granted earlier this year.
More on Douglas Badger
Last week, it was announced that Badger was recommended for conditional release into a home at 17836 Frondoso Drive, which the Zublins previously agreed to rent to Liberty Healthcare.
In addition to opposing the placement, the Zublins are also seeking to remove their home from consideration for SVPs by terminating their agreement with Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to supervise sexually violent predators on conditional release.
The homeowners say they have since learned that far more children live in the area than they previously were aware of, and that "a multitude of youth sports and educational programs are conducted in close proximity to the house." The Zublins also say they learned that a developmentally disabled man lives nearby "who fits the profile of some of Badger's previous victims."
The decision to sign off on placing Badger at the home ultimately rests with San Diego Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers, who is set to hear public comments on the proposed location during an Oct. 29 hearing at the San Diego Central Courthouse.
The San Diego County District Attorney's Office said Zublin's withdrawal nullified the Department of State Hospitals' recommendation to use his property.
"While the District Attorney's Office does not have a role in the selection of placement locations for SVPS, protecting the community from sexual predators is a priority for the DA's Office and it opposes conditional release when the law and the evidence supports it," The DA's Office said.
Weathers ruled in January that based on testimony from treating physicians and therapists, Badger could be granted conditional release as he would not be a danger to the health and safety of others and was not likely to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior if he was supervised and received treatment.
However, Weathers later declined to place Badger at a home in the Mount Helix neighborhood, citing its proximity to schools, as well as the neighborhood's hilly terrain and lack of public transportation, which he said could present obstacles for people with mobility issues such as Badger.
In addition to the placement hearing, public comments will be accepted until Oct. 14 regarding the placement. Those comments may be submitted by calling (858) 495-3619, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments can also be mailed to SVP Release/SAFE Task Force, 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.
The Frondoso Drive proposal has drawn stiff opposition from residents in Rancho Bernardo and nearby Poway, as well as County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, whose district includes Rancho Bernardo.
In a letter to Weathers, Lawson-Remer wrote, "We all deserve to feel safe at home, and moving someone with this violent background into the middle of a community full of families and children defies logic. The fact that most of his victims were young males who were strangers to him make his potential placement near educational and recreational facilities frequented by children particularly troubling."
Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio alleges the Zublins were "grossly misled" by Liberty Healthcare regarding the potential public safety risks involved with placing Badger at the home.
"I am grateful that the property owners genuinely listened to feedback from the community and, upon learning new information regarding the risks to children, decided to do the right thing in seeking to terminate this contract and asking the judge to deny the placement of this sexual predator," DeMaio said