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Rancho Bernardo neighbors react to potential sexually violent predator placement

Public hearing for Douglas Badger placement in Oct.
Douglas Badger
Posted at 11:13 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 10:00:08-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Frondoso Drive in Rancho Bernardo is a place that neighbors call a "tight-knit community."

"It's very knit, like, come together community," Etienne Elsaessar, a Frondoso Drive resident, said.

"We have holiday parties. We have everyone's email lists, contact all of that,” Channing Hughes, another resident said.

But, on Wednesday, they got some unexpected news about a possible new neighbor, sexually violent predator Douglas Badger.

"You want to give a person the benefit of the doubt. But with the different diagnoses that he's had and time and things, it definitely makes you nervous,” Hughes said.

RELATED: Court to discuss release of sexually violent predator to Rancho Bernardo home

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department announced that the San Diego County Superior Court is ordering the conditional release of Badger. The Department of State Hospitals is recommending a home on Frondoso for him to be moved to.

"This just can't happen. You know, it's too close to young families and schools and a tight-knit community,” Susan Graham, another neighbor, said.

The Sheriff's Department said that the picking of this home is the responsibility of state hospitals and the court, adding that there will be a public hearing for Badger’s placement on Oct. 29 at the Superior Court building.

ABC 10News asked the court how and why this Frondoso was home chosen. The court referred ABC 10News to the Department of State Hospitals, which said there are plenty of steps in finding a home to be recommended for a conditional release.

There's reviewing of previous housing searches, that the home is within legal distancing requirements, proximity to schools or parks, seeing if it's in neighborhoods with kids, how old they are, and other factors that will impact a judge's decision before they order someone to be released there.

A representative with the Department of State Hospitals told ABC 10News via email that, “It’s important to remember that it is up to the court—not the Department of State Hospitals or its contractor—to determine whether a patient should be granted conditional release and where that patient resides.”

Earlier this year, the Mount Helix community fought back against Badger moving into their community. It led to a judge ruling against Badger being moved there.

This Rancho Bernardo neighborhood hopes they can do that too.

"My hope is that this community will do the same and we will have our voice heard,” Graham said.

"I think there will be a lot of outrage and we are doing our best to get this message. And not have this happen here,” Elsaessar said.

The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says it will be accepting public comments about the proposed placement in the formal response to the court and department of state hospitals.

That'll be happening through phone, email, and physical mail starting next Thursday until Oct. 14. Public comment can also be had at the hearing in person.