New placement proposed for sexually violent predator

Local

SAN DIEGO — A new site has been proposed for the placement of a sexually violent predator, and a hearing is set for Borrego Springs residents to weigh in.

The new site for 64-year-old Merle Wakefield’s proposed placement is 575 Yaqui Road in Borrego Springs. Wakefield was convicted of sex assaults dating back to the 1980s and 1990s and the San Diego Superior Court has ordered his conditional release.

The sexually violent predator designation is for people convicted of sexually violent offenses who are also diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend. After serving their prison sentences, SVPs may undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in supervised outpatient locations.

The site selection process is handled by the California Department of State Hospitals and the Superior Court. Meetings earlier this year about proposed placements for Wakefield and other sexually violent predators drew crowds and spurred protests.

In May, a judge rejected placing Wakefield at a home in the Mount Helix neighborhood, saying the residence was located in a densely populated neighborhood and in close proximity to children.

The proposed Borrego Springs placement will be discussed at a 9 a.m. meeting on Sept. 13. Borrego Springs residents who can’t make it to the meeting are asked to submit their comments by email or over the phone by Aug. 11.

Community members can e-mail comments to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org or call 858-495-3619. You can also mail comments to SVP Release/SAFE Task Force at 9425 Chesapeake Drive San Diego, CA 92123.

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