Lawmaker calls to halt proposed placements of sex offenders in East County

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – State Sen. Brian Jones said Friday he has asked Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration to halt the potential placements of two convicted sex offenders in an East County home.

The placements in question are the proposed conditional releases of Douglas Badger and Merle Wakefield, both of whom the Department of State Hospitals has recommended be housed in a supervised home on Horizon Hills Drive in the Mt. Helix neighborhood.

Badger, 78, was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1970s, mostly victimizing male hitchhikers, while Wakefield, 64, was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1980s, according to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Both men are classified as sexually violent predators, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them likely to re-offend.

After serving their prison sentences, sexually violent predators may undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in supervised outpatient locations. Both men’s requests for conditional release have been granted by judges.

Badger has a hearing scheduled for Tuesday regarding his potential placement, while Wakefield’s hearing is scheduled for next month. Both hearings are public and will be conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jones said he sent two letters this month to Department of State Hospitals Director Stephanie Clendenin after constituents expressed concerns regarding the proposed placements.

In a statement, Jones cited two instances in which former Govs. Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian overruled state authorities to order convicted rapists to serve the remainders of their parole in trailers on the grounds of state prisons.

“Neither Douglas Badger or Merle Wakefield are suitable to be released from secure state facilities, let alone dumping them in a residential neighborhood in Mt. Helix,” said Jones, R-Santee.

“Both are dangerous sexually violent predators who have repeatedly targeted and attacked children. Rather than renting a spacious home to serve as a boarding house for these people, Governor Newsom ought to follow the lead of former Govs. Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian. Both of these governors got creative and ordered that dangerous parolees be housed in trailers at state correctional facilities.”

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