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Opinion: Don’t Dump Sexually Violent Predators in Rural San Diego County

OpinionOpinion: Don’t Dump Sexually Violent Predators in Rural San Diego County

Downtown Borrego SpringsBorrego Springs is among the communities targeted to house sexually violent predators . Photo via Wikimedia Commons

What happens to sexually violent predators once they’ve served their sentences? Apparently they get dumped in rural San Diego County.

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Rural areas lack resources to supervise conditionally released SVPs and guarantee public safety. In San Diego County, multiple SVPs have been placed in Jacumba Hot Springs, Campo and Boulevard, with proposed placements in communities like Pauma Valley and Borrego Springs.

I’ve written letters in the past opposing placement of SVPs in rural communities, including in 2020 when I wrote to the Superior Court regarding placing an SVP in Pauma Valley. Fortunately, that proposal was blocked, but Borrego Springs is still under consideration to house a convicted child molester. There will be a hearing on July 8, and I have again written a letter to the judge explaining this individual must be placed elsewhere.

Does the state purposely place SVPs in rural locations lacking the clout to generate public outcry that can block these placements, as recently happened in Rancho Bernardo? Currently, the Department of State Hospitals, which oversees placement, contracts with Liberty Healthcare, which then seeks court approval. County District Attorneys aren’t consulted, and have also expressed frustration. 

This must stop. That’s why I joined Sen. Brian Jones to co-author Senate Bill 841, requiring the State Hospital Director to approve SVP placements before contracts are signed — with public safety an overriding consideration. Mandated reports would list suitable alternate properties, including properties under Department of Corrections or Forestry and Fire Protection control. The Director would also list counties and supervisorial districts receiving SVPs.

Naturally, San Diego County is one of the bill’s supporters. Unfortunately however, SB 841 was killed in the Senate Public Safety Committee by the Democratic majority. Even so, I’ll keep trying, and I’ll keep doing all I can to block placements of SVPs in rural communities.

Rural San Diego County cannot remain a dumping ground for sexually violent predators.

Assemblymember Marie Waldron represents the 75th Assembly District , which includes the communities of Bonsall, Escondido, Fallbrook, Hidden Meadows, Pala, Palomar Mountain, Pauma Valley, Rainbow, San Marcos, Temecula, Valley Center and Vista.

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