Throughout the day, residents near El Cajon waved signs at street corners and medians, their fears mounting after word a second sexually violent predator may be placed in a home on Horizon Hills Drive.
“Shock, I was completely shaking,” said Sarah Thompson, a mother of an 8-year-old boy, who says the neighborhood is filled with children. Three schools, including two elementary schools, lie within a mile of the home.
Last week the Department of State Hospitals recommended Douglas Badger be placed in the home, a few doors down from Thompson.
Classified as a sexually violent predator, Badger was convicted of sexual assaults dating back to the 1970s for preying on young male hitchhikers and abducting them at gunpoint.
Amy Fago, a mother of three, says her worries have doubled after learning a second sexually violent predator, Merle Wakefield, is slated to be placed in the same home.
“Just mind-boggling,” said Fago.
In 1981, Wakefield was convicted of a lewd act with a child under age 14 and a decade later, forcible rape. After serving his prison term, he was sent to a state hospital for treatment. A judge recently granting his conditional release.
“I fear our neighborhood is going to become a dumping ground for sexually violent predators,” said Thompson.
“The result is living in a neighborhood where we have to live in fear. I don’t want to have my children or myself be afraid to walk around the streets,” said Fago.
In the past week, neighbors have quickly come together in opposition, with a neighborhood meeting being held on Tuesday night. The Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) task force says they’ve received 200 emails, described as a ‘huge’ amount.
“I know for sure we’re going to fight this to the end,” said Thompson.
“My message is these men don’t belong in this community,” said Fago.
Badger’s placement hearing will take place April 20th. The deadline for public comment is Friday.
Residents can email their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 858-495-3691. Comments can also be mailed to the SVP Release/SAFE Task Force at 9425 Chesapeake Drive San Diego, CA, 92123.
Wakefield’s hearing is in May. The conditional release of the two men will involve supervision, including GPS monitoring.