Community leaders call for change to ‘flawed’ system for sexually violent predator placements

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SAN DIEGO – The Rancho Bernardo Community Council held a meeting Thursday night to discuss how to prevent a sexually violent predator from being placed in other communities in San Diego County.

It’s a discussion that’s taken center stage in the Rancho Bernardo community in recent weeks after 78-year-old Douglas Badger was recommended for conditional release into a home on Frondoso Drive. Last week, homeowners Bryan and Ming Zublin withdrew their offer to allow Badger to reside at their property, effectively nullifying a judge’s recommendation for him to be placed there.

Badger, convicted of offenses including child molestation, kidnapping and forcible oral copulation in crimes dating back decades, now has been denied placement in Mount Helix, Borrego Springs and Rancho Bernardo.

It is not yet clear where Badger will be placed next.

“Turns out in Rancho Bernardo, two of the neighbors who live directly across the street from the home that was proposed for Mr. Badger have young adults with significant mental health disabilities,” said San Diego City Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, who represents the area of District which includes Rancho Bernardo.

“So, why would a court deem it OK to put someone like Mr. Badger in that community?” she said.

von Wilpert, who was elected to City Council last year, said the law currently allows the state to decide where to place people deemed sexually violent predators without consulting local officials or the community.

“That is part of the problem, that our local jurisdictions really are not consulted or given any kind of priority in weighing in in the placement of someone in our neighborhoods,” she said.

In Rancho Bernardo, community members are trying to keep the current momentum in a bid to protect other communities from having a sexually violent predator moving in next door.

Robin Kaufman, president of the community council, argues the state’s law must be changed.

“We want to make sure that local jurisdictions have complete say and input and vote on in any such situation,” Kaufman said. “Right now, they don’t have that.”

On Tuesday, San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted to urge the state to take action on the law.

“I’m worried that this situation could happen again because the system is flawed,” Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer said.

Lawson-Remer urged community members not to lose the momentum.

“I hope that we can continue the work and stop this cycle and protect our children and the laws need to change and you have my full support in fighting for that change,” she said.

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