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Supervisors approve better public notification on sex offenders

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Posted at 6:55 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 21:55:56-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved methods intended to increase public notification about registered sex offenders and placement of sexually violent predators.

One way, according to Supervisor Joel Anderson's office, would be advance notification of the district attorney, supervisors and other community leaders before sex offenders are placed in or move into a neighborhood.

Based on a recommendation by Supervisor Jim Desmond, the board also approved better notification for Native American tribes, if sexual predators are moved to their communities.

The board's vote Tuesday came after residents in an unincorporated area near El Cajon were informed about the proposed conditional releases of Douglas Badger and Merle Wakefield.

The Department of State Hospitals recently recommended both men be housed in a supervised home on Horizon Hills Drive in the Mt. Helix neighborhood.

Badger, 78, was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1970s, mostly victimizing male hitchhikers.

Wakefield, 64, was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1980s, according to the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

Both men are classified as sexually violent predators, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend.

A hearing on Badger's proposed placement was held April 20 but a decision has not been made on it. A hearing of Wakefield's proposed placement is scheduled for Monday.

Anderson said his office also found that:

-- The public notification process is dysfunctional, lacks transparency and has inadequate public notification;

-- There can be increased notification to the public regarding the location of registered sex offenders, and;

-- There is the ability for a local process, or committee to be directly involved in giving input on the housing of sexual violent predators such as Badger.

Anderson said on Tuesday many residents of his district were outraged over sex predators moving into their neighborhoods.

"What procedures can be utilized?" said Anderson, who introduced the motion. "It's a very trying process."

Anderson said his district is the county's second poorest, and "we've actually been targeted for dumping pedophiles into our district."

At an April 28 news conference, Anderson said residents "have the right to the same level of safety as anybody does in any other rich neighborhood."