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Fight continues over placement of convicted sexually violent predator in East County

Posted at 12:00 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 17:22:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A hearing began Tuesday morning to determine if a convicted sexually violent predator will be housed in an East County neighborhood.

Judge Theodore Weathers is expected to rule on the placement of 78-year-old Douglas Badger on a property located on Horizon Hills Drive in the Mount Helix neighborhood of El Cajon.

Residents in the area have come out against the potential placement, saying it would be a major mistake for a judge to even consider someone with Badger’s background to live so close to children, daycare centers, and schools.

Neighbors sent ABC 10News pictures of a silent protest they held last week, with a fraction of the children who live nearby lined up in front of the home in question. Some of those neighbors have even filed a lawsuit against the county on Monday fighting against these placements.

The home on Horizon Hills Drive has been rented by the homeowner to Liberty Healthcare, which would oversee any sexually violent predators who might be placed there, with staff and GPS ankle bracelets.

Weathers said he viewed the property, drove around the neighborhood, and read every letter and email that was submitted from concerned residents.

Among those to talk during the hearing was County Supervisor Joel Anderson, and he mentioned that the 4-bedroom home has been proposed to house more than one sexually violent predator. Anderson objected to the placement of what he said is 67% of all SVP's in the county -- in District 2, calling the area a dumping ground.

Badger was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1970s.

The other SVP being considered for placement in the home is Merle Wakefield, whose hearing will be in May. Wakefield was convicted in 1981 of a lewd act with a child under 14, and a decade later, forcible rape. The Department of State Hospitals has recommended that both men be released from state hospitals.