SAN DIEGO -
A man who seven years ago became the first sexually violent predator from Atascadero State Hospital to be released into San Diego County is now living as a transient in the Lemon Grove and Spring Valley areas, authorities announced Thursday.
Matthew Harvey Hedge's SVP designation was lifted by a court last week, and as such he no longer is required to wear a tracking device and "is free to live and go anywhere," the Sheriff's Department advised in a public notice.
However, the 49-year-old Hedge still must notify local law enforcement of his whereabouts every 30 days.
In November 2005, Hedge was released into the San Diego area after completing a post-incarceration behavior-modification treatment program. He was located to a trailer on the grounds of Donovan State Prison in Otay Mesa.
Two months later, he was returned to Atascadero after violating terms of his outpatient program by speaking to two girls at a local treatment center, lying to counselors and admitting to having had a deviant sexual fantasy involving a child.
Hedge was convicted in 1989 of molesting two boys and two girls. He served a 12-year prison term, then was sent to the state mental hospital for treatment.
Megan's Law permits law enforcement agencies to advise the public about the presence of sex offenders in communities as a means of helping residents protect themselves and their children from potential harm.
"This notification (about Hedge) is not intended to induce fear," the sheriff's advisory stated. "Rather, it is our belief that an informed community is a safer community."