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Judge rules against placement of second sexually violent predator Douglas Badger at Mount Helix home

Judge Theodore Weathers said the home on Horizon Hills Drive would not be a suitable placement for Douglas Badger.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — A judge has ruled that a 78-year-old second sexually violent predator recommended for supervised release at a residence in the Mount Helix neighborhood will not be placed at the home.

In a written ruling dated Wednesday and released by court officials on Thursday, San Diego Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers said the home at 10957 Horizon Hills Drive would not be a suitable placement for Douglas Badger and state hospital officials will be tasked with finding another location to house him.

The ruling came nearly two weeks after another local judge, San Diego Superior Court Judge Albert Harutunian III, denied placement of a second sexually violent predator, Merle Wade Wakefield, at the same home.

Badger and Wakefield are classified as sexually violent predators, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend. After serving their prison sentences, sexually violent predators may undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in supervised outpatient locations.

Parameters of conditional release include GPS monitoring and rules against venturing outside the home unless accompanied by a representative from Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to supervise SVPs.

The Department of State Hospitals proposed placing both men at the Horizon Hills Drive home, to the dismay of neighborhood residents.

Harutunian rejected Wakefield's placement at the outset of a public hearing in which residents would have been allowed to air their grievances and concerns regarding the placement. The judge cited the home's location in a densely populated neighborhood and its close proximity to children in his decision.

In Badger's case, Weathers heard at a hearing last month from dozens of residents, many of whom expressed their concerns regarding the number of families in the surrounding neighborhood and a lack of law enforcement presence.

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office also opposed the placement, stating that the neighborhood differed greatly from prior SVP placements, which have typically been in communities that are remote and sparsely populated.

In his ruling, Weathers referenced the residents' concerns, along with the lack of sidewalks and public transportation in the neighborhood, which he wrote "would potentially present significant obstacles for persons with mobility issues, such as (Badger)."

County Supervisor Joel Anderson, whose district contains the Mount Helix neighborhood, praised the ruling.

"My phone started ringing off the hook... with good news for a change," Anderson told News 8. 

"We are just grateful that both judges looked at the area, thought about it and made the right choice," Anderson added.

"There is still more work to do," he said. "Over 60% of all SVPs have been placed in my district, which has more sexual offenders than any other district in San Diego County. We need to improve the process for notification and placement and there are accountability issues to further investigate."

He added that it is fundamentally unfair that one district in the county should have to house the majority of sexually violent predators. 

"That's just wrong: that is dumping," Anderson told News 8. "That is the definition of dumping."

These rulings come after 10 other registered sex offenders, who had been illegally placed in one home in El Cajon, were removed last month, after heated neighborhood protests.

Anderson says that both the Mt. Helix home and the El Cajon home had code violations that should have precluded them from even being considered to house sexual predators, even though Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to supervise these sexually violent predators, said they had vetted the locations.

"No matter the outcome is, Liberty Healthcare did not do their job," Anderson added. "If you're going to lie about the house to the judge, what else are you lying about?"

News 8 reached out to Liberty Healthcare for comment on these code violations, as well as any alternate housing proposals for Douglas Badger or Merle Wakefield, but had not received a response as of Thursday night.

WATCH: Judge rules that placement of sexually violent predator not appropriate in El Cajon home

 

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