Housing For Sexual Predator Douglas Badger To Be Determined By Judge
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. Our top story today, when the sexual offender has served his time, then Penn State mental hospital and then approved for release, where and how should he be allowed to live? That is the question surrounding the release of Douglas Badger. He's been deemed a sexually violent predator by law enforcement. We'll hear about the ongoing effort to find a residence for this sex offender. Members of the public are speaking out against his release. I would like to welcome Lorena Gonzalez. John Rice is also here. Welcome to the program. First, give me the details about Douglas Badger. What was he convicted of? JOHN RICE: He had a history of sexually violent offenses starting in 1974. His last offense is in 1991. The offenses involved the sexual assault of young men who are picked up hitchhiking or in other ways and he tended to commit his offenses with an accomplice, which was unusual. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The court determined he should be kept in custody, how is that determination made? JOHN RICE: He was one of our earlier sexual predators. He was deemed a sexually violent predator in 1997. Because about as he was been under treatment the law has changed over time. There were to be your commitments and then in 2006 the law changed and commitment became indeterminate. That was part of Jessica's Law. Now the SVP must petition their way out of the state hospital and file petition indicating that they are no longer a danger. And Mister Badger's case it's a conditional release, you must still be under the supervision of liberty healthcare. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What kind of treatment has he received at the state hospital? What kind of treatment programs to violent predators can see hospital? JOHN RICE: Over the course of time the treatment has changed. Think do a good life small treatment, more focused on a secure lifestyle they can ensure that that the dangers that lead them to sexually reoffend that they're in a comfortable life score style and not let down that path to commit these offenses. Over the curse of time the treatment has changed. He has been described as a model patient. He has been very complaint with treatment. His first considered for LP out treatment treatment outpatient treatment in 2004. He was in 2006 for by the year and we committed after he had medication problems that caused him to be compensated. He did not reoffend but he has to be taken back into custody. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When he petitions for a judge to consider his conditional release, what factors does the judge will? JOHN RICE: Yes, he considers a number of things. These individuals are deemed sexually violent based on their commitment us an offense and diagnosed mental disorder and that disorder must cause them to be a suspenseful danger to reoffend. There is a fourth component whether or not they can be treated safely in the community as opposed to in a secure hospital setting. One thing that is changed over time is that these instruments have begun to take in a cookout the age of the offender. What's your age 60, the risk goes down at age 60. His risk to reoffend goes down going for the group that is a part of. His risk to reoffend has been deemed to be controllable in the community if he written continues to receive treatment. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Before the judge made the decision that Douglas was going to be released into the community, was it DAs up position on the case? JOHN RICE: We presented evidence and expert who testified saying that he remained a danger and should remain in Dane in custody. We also have the training sessions hospital saying that he should be released just have to take into account someone who is hired to a slightly as I have seen inside intonation at the hospital's. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me bring Lorena into the conversation. Now the determination is where he is going to be released. You led a rally protesting his potential release it here the South Bay district. Why do you think you'll be going there? LORENA GONZALEZ: We hope that he will not be going there. We want to be proactive. Originally the discussion had been around and being release in Campo. That supervisor in an effort to not having him released in her county, he's she suggested that he got sent back to Donovan state prison in a trailer on the outskirts the present. The reason that worries us in the South Bay is because this is happened before. In fact, the two previous releases of sexually violent procedures predators have been put in the area. Once thought of as a rural area. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Where do you think sexual predators should be released? LORENA GONZALEZ: I would prefer that they don't get released. I commend the DAs office for taking the position. I want to work with the DAs office to see if there's changes that can be made in state law to strengthen the ability of the public to not have these sexually violent offenders released into her communities. That is something we will be working within the next year. In the meantime, we need to find remote areas that are not asked to school children, areas that are not next to residents and who are put in jeopardy because they live in an area of town. Right now there's only one sexually violent offender being treated in this way, but previous 2% to the south bay and we know that there are more coming. We do not want this to be a accepted practice that someone is released and sent here to the South Bay. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Douglas is seventy years old. The risk assessment actually goes down considering how old the offender is. Today the fact that he is now an old man makes less dangerous? LORENA GONZALEZ: I think of that idea or definition of older our governor is an old man. Our previous mayor was over seventy. We want to start discussing what men over seventy-two, we probably have a lot of options to talk about. I think it's an arbitrary choice to start saying that at sixty they're less likely to offend. There plenty of examples to of older men who have lifetime of offending and continued to offend. That is not a chance we're willing to take. It's nice to talk in abstract but when you are a mom or living community as a single woman or a single man, that's rescinded, you don't want to me living who down the street who has committed violent sexual assaults nine times that we are aware of. This is something that we should not have live within our communities. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you, is there a constitutional problem with keeping a person who has served his sentence and been treated for his condition and custody for an indefinite period of time? JOHN RICE: There is not a constitutional problem with keeping them in an indeterminate period. We've made changes to law which have been upheld by the Supreme Court. You do have to, what's the new person is no longer assessed to be that level of risk, that's where you have constitutional problem. Treatment is out of prison sentence it is a commitment to protect the community. Once the risk is gone down, the hospital is obligated to recommend release and the court is obligated to recommend release if he can be safely treated in the community. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: We know of cases where formally sexually violent president has been reintegrated successfully into the community, as that happened here are other places? JOHN RICE: To say successfully reintegrated I wouldn't say that. We had one who is found to no longer be a sexually violent predator. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What is expected to happen at Friday's hearing? JOHN RICE: A lot of excitement as been brought up but the matter is that once the recommended location was withdrawn which happened about a month ago the hearing is basically a status hearing to see what progress has been made in finding a new place. Any location found will be released on Friday, it will ultimately be included in a letter to the court for the Department of State hospitals. With the letters received, then at public comment period will be set usually about two weeks. At the conclusion of that public comment. There will be hearing in court in front of the judge in which members of the committee can come in and speak. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: So what the rally was about yesterday was basically an opening shot when you're deciding when you're going to place this person, don't place them in the South Bay. LORENA GONZALEZ: That was in direct response to Supervisor Dianne Jacob's response that he should get sent to the South Bay. The residents in my community and the assembly District deserve officials who are going to stand up and fight back or were not just going to allow some one supervisor to start making recommendations that of a for not affect our residents. The South Bay has been seen as it dumping ground for so many problems. This is not something that our residents deserve and I think that supervisor Cox and I talk about inside that we're going to proactively make it known that this is not acceptable. It would be too easy with one of these predators beat with let out tech continuously point to this. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you think that there needs to be a change in the law that concerns the release of repeat sex crime offenders? LORENA GONZALEZ: I had the opportunity to speak with her yesterday. We talked about trying to find legislation to do. This is been legislated but whatever you legislate, you can't go backwards. He cannot take past offenses and apply new law to those offenses here that is what we're struggling with here. We have a lot of good legislators. Those types of things have really allowed us to strengthen the rules with violent sexual offenders. We do have about seventy folks who are kind of in this same situation, where the we're just try to find ways to keep them in a hospital in a confined area. We're going to see if there's legislation we can do ever going to pursue it with hospitals as well to see why people are being recommended and if this age arbitrary age number of sixty really make sense. There are things will look at work on it and as a parent I have to be honest I think violent sexual offender should be can confined forever. They can tell their dad in a mobile. I have no patience for trying to rehabilitate folks who have time and time again raped and assaulted young people. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: My last question, how long is this process going to go on? JOHN RICE: The process of being released? MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The process of finding where he will go. JOHN RICE: It can take a long time. It's possibly two weeks and there is a hearing in the court to make a determination whether or not he should be released. The danger is when nobody wants a sex offender living there than that we run the risk of the court saying what we have to release them as a transient. From the management we haven't team that members monitors sex offenders in the community. It makes it much more difficult when there is in a transient status than if they're in a fixed residence where you can set a curfew and said the GPS to make sure that don't leave during the curfew. If we want to have safety in the community from sex offenders who've been identified, they need to be in a fixed location here. MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I want to thank you both. A very interesting and very important conversation.
County and state officials, along with concerned parents, voiced opposition Tuesday to the release of convicted sexual predator Douglas Badger. A court hearing to locate housing for 70-year-old Badger will be held Friday.
Badger, who has been diagnosed with a schizophrenic disorder and sexual sadism, has a history of sexual assaults dating back to 1974. His victims were primarily 18- to 29-year-old male hitchhikers, although in one case he assaulted a 16-year-old girl.
He was convicted in 1981 and served 10 years in prison. Shortly after his release in 1991, he re-offended and was again convicted of sexual assault.
In 1997, Badger was committed to a state hospital as a sexually violent predator. In August, a judge ruled that Badger could be safely released into the community with continued treatment and supervision.
Milena Phillips' is the creator of the Jonathan Sellers and Charlie Keever Foundation. Sellers, Phillips' son, and his friend, Keever, were killed by a sexual predator in 1993. Phillips strongly opposes releasing Badger back into the community.
"A repeat offender, a repeat sexual sadist — to let him in an area where he could be in walking distance of children is just unthinkable," Phillips said.
San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and state Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez also made remarks voicing their opposition.
The Department of State Hospitals originally proposed placing Badger in Campo, in the East County, but that was withdrawn by the owner. Officials will update a judge Friday on efforts to find suitable housing for Badger.
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents East County, said in September that she wanted Badger released to a trailer near Donovan State Prison in the southern part of San Diego.
Friday's hearing will be open for public comment.
City News Service contributed to this report.