EL CAJON, Calif. – Residents in unincorporated El Cajon are pushing back ahead of a hearing this month that could place a man convicted of multiple sexual assaults in a supervised home in their neighborhood.
The hearing is scheduled for April 20 after California’s Department of State Hospitals recommended 78-year-old Douglas Badger be placed in a home on Horizon Hills Drive. Badger was convicted of sexually assaulting male hitchhikers dating back to the mid-1970s, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.
His crimes span five separate counties, including San Diego County, the office said.
Neighbors found out about the hearing this week and some already are making their positions known with signs posted outside which read, “Predators not welcome.”
“It’s crazy,” said Kelley Deriemer, who lives across the street from the proposed placement site. “Kind of blindsided everybody in the neighborhood.”
Deriemer says nobody lives at the home now and that the owner lives out of state.
“That’s a huge home for one person,” she said. “Is that going to be all that’s put in that home? We have no idea. We can’t find answers (on) how this is going to be controlled.”
Badger most recently was sentenced to state prison in 1991 and was civilly committed to a state hospital in 1997. He’s since petitioned for release into the Conditional Release Program — or CONREP — for sex offenders and was granted conditional release earlier this year.
Badger is classified as a sexually violent predator, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend.
He’s previously sought release from a state hospital and placement in a community three other times, the district attorney’s office said.
Worried neighbors say it’s a busy area with lots of families with children and schools a short distance away.
“I have children,” said Laurie MacDonald, who lives on the same street. “We bought here because it’s a safe, kid-friendly neighborhood. It’s really scary.”
Neighbors are planning a community meeting next week to discuss the situation ahead of the public court hearing.
Public comments will be accepted through April 9 and can be submitted by calling 858-495-3619, or emailing email@example.com . Comments also can be mailed to: SVP Release/SAFE Task Force, 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA, 92123.