San Diego County wants the courts to stop placing sexually violent predators in its communities, or at least pause placements until the system can be reformed.
“The nights are dark in Borrego [Springs] by design. they’re a night sky community, so there’s no street lights,” County Supervisor Jim Desmond said. Borrego Springs one of a few remote communities where sexually violent predators are assigned to live, under constant supervision, when they’re done serving time.
It’s loved for its desert landscape and quiet living, but residents worry its charm attracts dangerous neighbors.
“We don’t want Borrego Springs to become a dumping ground simply because we don’t have psychiatric or psychology services. There’s nowhere [predators] can continue their treatment,” Borrego Springs homeowner Dr. Sarah Rogers said.
A week from now, a judge will decide if convicted sexually violent predator Michal Martinez will live in Borrego Springs.
“Over a span of 25 years, he molested kids younger than 14, committed lude and vicious acts and violent acts,” Supervisor Desmond explained.
Desmond and Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher teamed up Friday to call on the Superior Court of San Diego to pause placing sexually violent predators in the county, and to give them the power to reform the process altogether.
“There’s never gonna be an ideal place. I mean, I think the best location that I’ve seen has been to put a couple trailers in the parking lot of a state prison,” Fletcher said.
Residents are hoping they can, at least, have some sort of input on where predators are placed.
“There are children with disabilities who live within a quarter-mile of the house and are educated at home within a quarter-mile of the house,” Rogers said, describing the situation at the home Martinez could land in.
“They are not rehabilitated and they’re a threat to the communities,” Ranchita resident Patty Miller said. “And I was a special ed. aid and I’m very fond of children and I try to protect my neighborhoods and my people.”
Residents and leaders say the threat doesn’t just disappear into the desert.
“These aren’t just fleeting moods. These are diagnosed conditions and he has not been cured,” Desmond said about Martinez.
Friday’s news conference came a week ahead of Martinez’s placement hearing.
Last year supervisors agreed to send a letter to the court asking for reforms to the placement process.