Jacumba residents urged a judge Friday to reject the proposed placement of a man classified as a sexually violent predator in their community, where he would undergo treatment in a monitored residential setting, if approved for conditional release.
Last month, it was announced that the California Department of State Hospitals recommended 71-year-old William Stafford for placement at a home located at 42457 Old Highway 80.
Stafford is classified as a sexually violent predator, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder — a paraphilic disorder in Stafford’s case — that makes them likely to re-offend. After serving their prison sentences, SVPs undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in outpatient locations, where they are monitored via GPS, among other measures.
According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Stafford has been convicted of “numerous felony sex offenses occurring between 1968-1990 in San Diego County,” including rape by force/fear and unlawful sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 18.
He was sentenced to 20 years in state prison in 1990 and is currently housed at Coalinga State Hospital.
San Diego Superior Court Judge David Gill, who granted his conditional release last year, heard from residents Friday regarding the proposal to place Stafford at the Old Highway 80 home.
Afterward, Gill scheduled an Oct. 11 hearing, at which time he said he will make his ruling on the matter. The judge said he also plans to travel to Jacumba sometime next week to view the property and its surrounding neighborhood.
If approved for release, it would take around an additional three weeks before Stafford would be relocated to the home.
Along with residents, County Supervisor Joel Anderson, whose district includes Jacumba, spoke out against the placement.
Anderson said four SVPs have been placed in the community in the past and Stafford’s placement would make one out of every 108 Jacumba residents a sexually violent predator.
Anderson said Jacumba is a disadvantaged community, where the majority of its school children have to take the bus to school. The supervisor said the community’s lone bus stop is located just outside the proposed home.
Residents who spoke at Friday’s hearing expressed a variety of concerns to Gill regarding the community’s suitability for Stafford’s placement, including slow police response times and worries over the quality with which Stafford would be monitored by Liberty Healthcare, which operates the state’s Conditional Release Program for SVPs.
Alan Stillman, executive director for Liberty Healthcare, said 55 SVPs have been released through the conditional release program over the past two decades, none of whom have re-offended.
Stillman said Liberty can only place its clients where homeowners are willing to rent.
“I wish we had more choices in more parts of the county,” Stillman said.
City News Service contributed to this article.