JACUMBA, Calif. — Jacumba residents are on edge as they prepare for the arrival of 71-year-old William Stafford, a sexually violent predator who’s expected to move into a home off Old Highway 80 within the next couple of weeks.
“This is my friend, his property — he said the sheriffs showed up yesterday or the day before, just warning people,” said Harley Poole, who just moved into a home next door.
Last month, after hearing from angry Jacumba residents, a San Diego County Superior Court judge authorized Stafford’s release into the rural East County community.
Stafford was convicted for multiple sex crimes in San Diego County from 1968 to 1990, including the sexual assault of a girl under 18.
“I feel bad for the gentleman, but I feel bad for all his victims too,” Poole said.
Residents point out the home is just a few hundred feet away from a school bus stop.
“We have a lot of children running around down here and walking along the road,” resident Mark Ostrander said.
Classified as an SVP and diagnosed with a mental disorder suggesting he could re-offend, Stafford has been receiving treatment at Coalinga State Hospital.
Under the state’s conditional release program, Stafford will continue to live under supervision in Jacumba.
“That’s the whole point of the justice system — you pay your debt and you’re released. If he wasn’t safe to be in society, then don’t release him,” a resident said.
Speaking out against the decision to release Stafford, County Supervisor Joel Anderson told FOX 5, “There is now one active Sexually Violent Predator for every 108 Jacumba residents – making the community a de facto SVP village. Our state officials need to reevaluate the SVP placement process. In the meantime, we are exploring what we can do on a county level to stop the dumping of SVPs in our residential communities.”