Judge Orders Release Of Sexually Violent Predator By End Of Month - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Judge Orders Release Of Sexually Violent Predator By End Of Month

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When released from custody, a child molester and sexually violent predator will live in a trailer on state-owned property near the R.J. Donovan Prison in Otay Mesa, a judge ruled today.

Last Oct. 1, Judge Michael Wellington ordered that Matthew Hedge, 46, be placed back into San Diego County on a strictly supervised outpatient basis following years of treatment at a state mental hospital.

South County Supervisor Greg Cox told the judge that placing Hedge in Otay Mesa was gambling with the "sense and security" of the residents in that neighborhood.

"It's a gamble I'm not willing to take," Cox told the judge. "I believe Mr. Hedge should be kept in custody."

Outside court, Cox said "South County should not become the dumping ground for every sexual predator that is being released from the state of California."

South Bay Congressman Bob Filner, D-Chula Vista, wondered why officials backed away from placing Hedge in Ramona after a property owner in that community tore up an agreement he had with state officials.

"Why did you leave that site and come to our site (in Otay Mesa)?" Filner asked.

Wellington told Filner that the state agency charged with supervising Hedge once he is released examined more than 100 sites before recommending the site near Donovan prison.

San Diego resident B.D. Howard, a resident of Sherman Heights in San Diego, said officials haven't done a good enough job looking for sites to place sex offenders.

"We can't afford to have sex offenders who've committed heinous crimes," said the aspiring politician. "We don't want Matthew Hedge at Donovan State Prison or anywhere south of Interstate 8."

San Ysidro School District Superintendent Manuel Paul said state officials should contact the federal government to see if sexually violent predators can be housed on Camp Pendleton or the North Island Naval Base.

Paul said there were a lot of children in the area of South Bay where officials want to place Hedge.

Wellington said he was satisfied that Hedge could be safely supervised under strict conditions if released to the Otay Mesa site.

The judge ordered Hedge released on or before April 30.

Hedge pleaded guilty in 1989 to molesting children in the San Diego area and served about 12 years in prison before entering a treatment program at Coalinga State Hospital in 1998.

After completing the multi-phase treatment program in November 2005, he was allowed to live in a trailer outside the walls of Donovan State Prison in Otay Mesa. But he was returned to Coalinga in January 2006, after state officials monitoring his movements said he talked with two girls at a treatment center, lied to staff and had a deviant sexual fantasy about a child.

Sexually violent predator Douglas Badger was placed in a trailer on the Otay Mesa site in 2006, but was returned to the hospital the following year because of a medical issue.

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