Officials, community members speak out against release of sexually violent predator Douglas Badger

SAN DIEGO - Local leaders stood outside downtown San Diego's Hall of Justice Tuesday to protest the release of a sexually violent predator back into the community.

After an Aug. 21 court hearing, a judge found that 70-year-old Douglas Badger could safely be released into the community for continued treatment and supervision.

Badger spent years in prison for preying on young male hitchhikers and abducting them at gunpoint.

The Department of State Hospitals has proposed placing Badger on land near Campo, in the East County, while county Supervisor Dianne Jacob wants Badger released to a trailer near Donovan State Prison in the southern part of San Diego.

Other SVPs have been placed at the site near Donovan, including Badger when he was initially released in 2006.

The public can comment on the proposals at a court hearing on Friday.

"Obviously, she's trying to represent the best interests of her district," San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox said of Jacob. "I'm trying to make sure that South County doesn't become the convenient place for every sexually violent predator to be released."

On Tuesday, state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and Cox held a news conference to speak out against Badger's release. They were joined by two South Bay women who said they know the pain that could happen when an offender's release goes wrong.

"I just don't want anyone to go through what my son went through," said Maria Keever, who wears a picture of her son around her neck. Twenty years have passed since her son was murdered, and she still can't hide her heartbreak.

"If someone came and molest your daughter, your son, while he was just playing in the park -- you really think he's to get a second chance?" said Milena Phillips.

Badger never met Keever or Phillips' sons. Thirteen-year-old Charlie Keever and 9-year-old Jonathan Sellers were molested and murdered by another sexual predator that was released from prison and became a repeat offender.

Keever and Phillips said Badger will do the same and that he belongs in prison. Badger, who has been diagnosed with a schizophrenic disorder and sexual sadism, has a history of sexual assaults dating back to 1974. His victims were primarily 18- to 29-year-old male hitchhikers, although in one case he assaulted a 16-year-old girl.

He was convicted in 1981 and served 10 years in prison. Shortly after his release in 1991, he re-offended and was again convicted of sexual assault.

In 1997, Badger was committed to a state hospital as a SVP.

Badger has admitted to crimes against at least 20 people. Officials say he is better and ready to be released under close supervision. The question becomes where he will live.

"He definitely shouldn't be released in a community that continues to grow, that continues to build schools," said Gonzalez.

Jeff Wilson, of Campo, was outraged after he learned from 10News that Badger could move into a trailer nearby.

"My daughter's bus stop is a block away -- hell no," said Wilson.

Since the 10News report aired, the owner of the Campo trailer has said Badger would not be moving in there.

"It's just painful ... this man is going to be walking distance, they're hoping he won't get another person, won't hurt someone else," said Phillips. "That's not good enough."

A hearing is pending to determine whether Badger should be released in the county.

The San Diego County District Attorney released the following statement:

"Protecting our community from sexually violent predators is a priority for the District Attorney's Office and we have a concentrated focus on SVPs who become eligible for supervised outpatient treatment. We understand the concerns voiced today and we're continuing our dedicated efforts to protect the public's safety while complying with the law and decisions of the court.

Badger was ordered released into outpatient treatment by the Court on August 21, 2013. The first housing recommendation for placement by the Department of State Hospitals was withdrawn by the owner. The hearing on November 15, 2013, originally set for public hearing on the proposed placement, will instead be a status hearing on the efforts made to find new housing for placement."

Cox wrote a letter to the presiding judge asking for Badger to remain locked up. In the letter, he wrote:

"Although state officials have determined that he can be safely released into the community, Mr. Badger has previously shown that he cannot be trusted, having reoffended shortly after his release in 1991. If he has reoffended once before, what guarantees do we have that he won't reoffend again? It's a risk I'm not willing to take for the safety of the residents of my district."

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