Track record on rehabilitating local sex predators is dismal - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Track record on rehabilitating local sex predators is dismal

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Another sexual predator is back behind bars tonight for violating the terms of his release. David Chambless could now be sent back to a state mental hospital just like the other four sexual predators previously released in San Diego county.

"We've had five patients placed in the community. Each of these five has now been revoked," said deputy district attorney Phyllis Shess.

Five out of five is a dismal record of sex offender rehabilitation for the State Department of Mental Health.

The latest failure is 49-year-old David Chambless. He served 8 years in prison before being committed to a state mental hospital for molesting two young girls in 1989.

In June 2008, Chambless was ordered released and placed in the East County community of Jacumba under intense supervision and GPS monitoring.

He lived off Old Highway 80 for the past year and a half until his re-arrest Monday night.

"These patients, once they are placed here, remain a very high risk and high concern," Shess said.

Shess sits on San Diego's Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Task Force. Officers on the SAFE team arrested Chambless and took him to jail at the request of Liberty Healthcare, a subcontractor of the Department of Mental Health.

Case managers said Chambless failed a lie detector exam, possessed pornographic materials, had a can of pepper spray, and spoke to a 17-year-old girl; all in violation of the terms of his release that require him to report all contact with minors.

"All that we know is that he had incidental verbal contact (with the girl), somewhat in passing as I understand it," Shess said.

As it stands now, three of the five sexual predators conditionally released in San Diego County are back in the mental hospital. The other two, David Chambless and Matthew Hedge, remain in jail awaiting their revocation hearings.

"We don't have an option of just locking them up, throwing away the key, and putting them into prison," said Shess. "They are patients in a civil commitment program."

Chambless and Hedge both have revocation hearings next month. If they are recommitted, they will be eligible to petition for re-release after one year in the mental hospital.

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