Judge: Sex Predator Hedge Can Stay In Community

A judge ruled Monday that a sexually violent predator can be treated safety in the community and should be returned to a trailer in Otay Mesa within five days.

Matthew Hedge, a 46-year-old child molester, was taken into custody Nov. 5 for not fully disclosing to his treatment team that he masturbated to women's volleyball on television and tried to masturbate to a photo of his female driver's legs.

He had been placed at the site last April, following years of treatment at a state mental hospital.

After days of testimony, Judge Michael Wellington ruled tMonay that Hedge has always been agreeable to treatment but has issues disclosing what he is thinking about his sexuality.

Wellington said he was satisfied that Hedge was no longer having deviant sexual fantasies about children.

The judge said it was important that the treatment program for sexually violent predators was not seen as a "sham" and "needs to be something that actually works."

Hedge thanked Wellington after the decision.

"If you want to thank me, you know what I want from you ... it's what everybody else wants from you," the judge replied.

Hedge's attorney, Marian Gaston said her client was a success story and that his treatment is working.

Liberty Healthcare, which manages Hedge's treatment program for the state Department of Mental Health, requested revocation of Hedge's outpatient status.

Hedge was originally ordered into outpatient treatment in 2005, but his outpatient status was revoked within six weeks for violating terms of his release.

After more than two years of in-patient hospital treatment, the court in October 2008 again granted Hedge's petition to be placed in outpatient treatment. He was ordered placed at the Otay Mesa site on April 13 of this year.

Hedge pleaded guilty in 1989 to molesting four children in the San Diego area and served 12 years in prison. He was committed to the sexually violent predator treatment program in 1997.