East County residents continue fight to keep predators out of neighborhood

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EL CAJON, Calif. — Residents of an unincorporated El Cajon community are continuing their fight to stop two registered sex offenders from being placed in the neighborhood.

“There’s no real way for us to fight this unless we make a large amount of noise,” Mt. Helix resident David Richards said, “and we’re trying our best to do that.”

A public hearing is scheduled for April 20 to determine whether to place 78-year-old Douglas Badger in a supervised home on Horizon Hills Drive.

Badger has a criminal past that goes back decades and has been convicted of multiple offenses including child molestation, kidnapping and forcible oral copulation in concert, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. He’s currently housed at Coalinga State Hospital.

Badger is classified as a sexually violent predator, the same designation as 64-year-old Merle Wakefield. The state is looking to place Wakefield in the same supervised home. His hearing is scheduled for May 10.

Neighbors say the thought of multiple sex offenders living in the same home is terrifying.

“It’s a scary thing when we found out about the second one – it was complete shock,” neighbor Sarah Thompson said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening again and we’re going to have to go through this again.”

Earlier this week, neighbors held a rally to fight back against the proposal to move the predators into an area with lots of families and schools nearby.

Richards also created a Facebook group called Kid Safe California to raise awareness.

“We’re getting contacts from around the state saying, ‘Hey, this happened here. We had to fight it.’” Richards said. “A lot of people rallying around us throughout the region.”

Neighbors also want to open a dialogue with the homeowner, in hopes of reaching some kind of deal that doesn’t involve predators moving in.

“We don’t know what this homeowner is going through and we want to make sure they understand that we’re not trying to fight the homeowner,” Richards said. “We want to make sure they understand we’re just trying to protect the community and if they share that common interest, we’ll welcome them with open arms.”

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