SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A number of Campo residents expressed outrage to a judge Friday that a convicted rapist and sexually violent predator might be placed in their community.
In August, the state Department of Mental Health proposed placing sex offender Frank Johnson at a single family home on Shockey Truck Trail, 41 miles from downtown San Diego.
Campo resident Arturo Lovio brought his family to the public hearing.
"We're not just a bunch of country hicks who live out there," Lovio told Judge Kerry Wells.
Lovio said putting a sexually violent predator like Johnson in the Campo area would be unfair.
"At what point are their freedoms more important than our kids?" Lovio wondered.
Johnson, 53, was ordered into sexually violent predator outpatient treatment on July 8 following a court hearing.
At that hearing, evidence was presented that he suffered from brain cancer, which diminished the public risk of his placement in the community. In March, doctors said Johnson had a year to live.
"He has nothing to lose," Lovio told the judge. "If he re-offends, he's already got a death sentence hanging over his head."
Wells made no decision on whether Johnson would be placed at the Campo location, saying she needed more information from several agencies. A status conference was set for Oct. 27.
San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose East County district encompasses Campo, said Johnson should be placed in a trailer near Donovan State Prison near the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Remote areas of East County should not be a convenient dumping ground for sexually violent predators," Jacob said. Two other sexually violent predators, David Norman and David Chambless, were placed in the backcountry area in San Diego's East County in the past few years.
Johnson was determined to be a sexually violent predator in March 2007.
His criminal activity began in 1977, at age 19, when he raped three women, according to authorities. Johnson was committed to Patton State Hospital in 1979 as a mentally disordered sex offender and remained there for five years.
He was convicted of sexual assault charges in 1987 and sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Johnson waived his right to be at the hearing today and remains at Coalinga State Hospital in Fresno County.
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