Residents fighting to keep sexually violent predator out of Campo

SAN DIEGO - County Supervisor Dianne Jacob on Wednesday joined a number of Campo residents to protest a proposal to place a sexually violent predator in their rural community with continued outpatient treatment and supervision.

"Our East County backcountry has become a dumping ground for sexually violent predators," Jacob said after a court hearing in which Judge Margie Woods took public comment on the proposal to place Allen Fields at a home in Campo.

Jacob said six sexually violent predators have been released in recent times into the backcountry, and three of those have been sent back to a state mental hospital for violating conditions of their release.

"This just demonstrates the system doesn't work. The system is broken," the supervisor told reporters. "These individuals should not be anywhere in Campo, anywhere in Jacumba, anywhere in our backcountry. They should not be anywhere in a community in San Diego County. They should be locked up for good. They're a danger to the community."

Fields, a 58-year-old diagnosed pedophile, was convicted of molesting four boys between the ages of 10 and 13 after establishing relationships with them as their caregiver or Boy Scouts leader.

In 2000, after he served a 25-year prison sentence, Fields was committed to a state hospital as a sexually violent predator, where he underwent sex offender treatment.

In March 2003, Fields voluntarily submitted to surgical castration.

Last December, Woods granted Fields' petition for outpatient placement, finding that he could safely be released into the community.

Last month, the state Department of Hospitals proposed placing Fields in a home on a five-acre piece of private property in Campo.

Christine Vergara, a mother of four who lives four doors down from where Fields would live, told the judge she was "extremely angry" about having the SVP in her neighborhood.

"This is going to be a detriment to our community," Vergara said. "It can't happen."

A retired sheriff’s sergeant who lives across from the proposed site said only two deputies are assigned to Campo, so response times lag. He was one of several residents fearing for kids in the community and imploring the judge to keep him out.

Alan Spillman of Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to place and monitor SVPs in the community, told residents that in the 11-year history of the program, they haven't had a client commit a new sexual offense.

"We're very committed on where these people are being placed," Spillman said. "He (Fields) is aware that he is being watched."

The judge said she will take the next month to inspect the proposed placement area and talk to officials about law enforcement response times and other issues.

A follow-up hearing was set for Aug. 22.

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