SAN DIEGO — Congressman Darrell Issa is introducing legislation meant to clamp down on the release of sexually violent predators into communities.
Issa made the announcement at a news conference in Poway, saying the state has released 111 SVPs, including 11 in his district alone.
“Sexually violent predators are a special group, this is not somebody who’s committed a crime once, this is somebody who’s been determined, usually based on multiple crimes that they clinically cannot help themselves,” Issa said.
Convicted SVPs who often re-offend are sent to a state hospital to receive treatment, then the state decides to release them into communities, often rural, sometimes suburban, paying exorbitant rent for homes where the SVPs have limited supervision.
“The governor has decided that he just simply wants to release as many of these sexually violent predators as possible,” Issa said.
Mt. Helix resident Sarah Thompson helped lead the charge to keep two SVPs from being placed in the same home in her neighborhood a little more than two years ago.
“There is no script and playbook on how to do it, it’s a terrifying experience and nobody really helps you, we didn’t know what a sexually violent predator was when it first happened,” Thompson said.
One of those predators, Douglas Badger, was eventually placed in a home in Borrego Springs earlier this year, just months after Michael Martinez, another convicted child molester, was placed in a home nearby.
“It’s a constant concern for the neighbors, they’re still there, so people that have children, people as kids that go back and forth to school ground playing, well they can’t be doing that anymore,” Borrego Springs resident Lee Rogers said.
Issa’s office says taxpayers are spending nearly $440,000 a year for each released predator. He says instead they should be held full-time in a clinical facility.
Issa’s legislation calls for an end to taxpayer funding for SVPs outside of correctional or secure medical facilities. Also, he is requiring states to report all convicted SVPs to the DOJ for review of potential federal charges.
“We would all sleep better at night knowing that they’re getting the care they need and we’re getting the protection from them simply reacting to their urges, that’s what our funding stream under this legislation does, it’s what we’re urging the governor to look into if he doesn’t do it without legislation, we intend on and making sure this becomes law,” Issa said.
“We all want safety for our community, safety for our children and our families, and so I’m just grateful that we’re now taking this a federal way and a federal step to maybe stop the placements,” Thompson said.
Issa also said without this legislation, the problem will get worse, adding it’s not just a California problem, so a federal solution is needed.