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Concerns over placement process of sexually violent predators in East County

Posted at 5:46 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 20:46:21-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Concerns were raised on Wednesday over the complicated search for answers as to how two sexually violent predators (SVPs) could soon be living inside a suburban Mt. Helix home in unincorporated El Cajon.

"The proposed house is about three or four homes down from us and across the street," said neighbor Sarah Hollis. She contacted ABC 10News after learning that SVPs Douglas Badger and Merle Wakefield might move in.

"We just want to know how this house was chosen," said added.

According to the District Attorney's Office, the California Department of State Hospitals recommends a location to the court after reviewing all the options in the county. Then the public can weigh in and after another court hearing, a judge will make a ruling.

"I'd love to see some type of housing report of housing search committee formed," said Hollis.

According to the Department of State Hospitals, the court can appoint a county organization to help with the housing search and form a committee of representatives from local law enforcement, the DA's Office and other county administrators but counties are not required to form a committee. If they decide not to, the search is still conducted, and findings are relayed to the court, according to the state.

"The search committee is not something that the court would be in charge of requesting," the court wrote to us, in part.

This District Attorney's Office wrote to us in part, "We did not make a request for a housing search committee." The DA's Office added that it's not aware of any committees between the state and other DA Offices in the state and no such committees have ever been used in San Diego County.

"They say that they're not dumping but I think that if you go to the dictionary, you see that 67% is the definition of dumping," said San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson on Wednesday. He said that a disproportionate number of SVPs are being dumped in East County.

He testified last week at a hearing over the placement of Badger, which a judge is still deciding on. Wakefield has a hearing in two weeks.

Sup. Anderson said that he's calling to reconvene the San Diego Sex Offender Management Council to review and enhance the notification process. The council hasn't reportedly met in a year because of the pandemic.