SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose any further placements of sexually violent predators in the county until local jurisdictions are able to fully participate in the placement process, including having full veto authority.
Supervisor Jim Desmond submitted the proposal in a board letter, which also directs Helen Robbins-Meyer, county chief administrative officer, to send a letter "communicating the county's position to the state of California Department of State Hospitals and other relevant agencies."
"San Diegans should not live in fear of a sexually violent predator to be placed in their neighborhoods," Desmond said.
Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said Tuesday's vote "is about giving our county new tools to keep our county safe and stand up for our families."
During an hour-long public hearing, 22 residents spoke in favor of Desmond's proposal. Mary Taylor, a member of activist group Your Voice Has Power, said she was sexually assaulted over 30 years ago and is "still haunted by that terrible night," saying she understands the fear communities have.
There is no excuse for letting a sexually violent predator join any family community "and young lives will be forever traumatized, if not tragically ended" should that be allowed to happen, Taylor said.
Kathleen Hedberg, a Mount Helix resident and former president of Grossmont Helix Improvement Association, said she and others spent eight months fighting the proposed placement of two sexual predators in their community.
Desmond's proposal followed a since-withdrawn proposal to release sexually violent predator Douglas Badger to a home in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood, a move strongly opposed by area residents. Badger -- whose victims were predominately male strangers, many of them hitchhikers -- petitioned for release into the Conditional Release Program for sex offenders, which was granted earlier this year.
According to Desmond's board letter, between 1959 and 1991 Badger was convicted of several offenses, including child molestation and kidnapping.
The crimes occurred in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties and between 1975 and 1991, Badger served five separate prison terms and had three parole violations. Badger was recently recommended for conditional release into a home at 17836 Frondoso Drive. On Friday, homeowners Bryan and Ming Zublin withdrew their offer to allow him to be placed at their property.
In addition to opposing the placement, the Zublins said they were seeking to remove their home from consideration for sexually violent predators by terminating their agreement with Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to supervise sexually violent predators on conditional release.
A sexually violent predator is defined as an individual who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others.
In San Diego County, there are five SVPs placed in neighborhoods throughout the region, and three more are awaiting placement hearings.
The SVP's placed or proposed to be placed in the San Diego region have committed crimes that include lewd acts upon children under 14 -- as young as 4 years old -- child molestation, forcible rape, and forcible sodomy, among others. Many of these were repeat crimes over the course of years.
"It breaks my heart to read the stories about these unspeakable crimes," Desmond said earlier in the week. "It's time we act, it's time we say no to SVP's in our neighborhoods."
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