Herman Smith
Herman Smith. Photo: San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept.

A man convicted of sexually violent crimes is slated to be released into the Jacumba Hot Springs community, but residents have the opportunity to first weigh in.

On March 27, 2018 the Department of State Hospitals proposed placing Herman Smith at 42920 Desert Rose Ranch Road in Jacumba Hot Springs. He was convicted in 1993 of rape by force, oral copulation with a minor under 14 years of age by force or fear and sodomy with a person under 14 years of age with force. He was also convicted of rape of a drugged victim.

Smith is considered a sexually violent predator, making him part of the one percentile of the state’s registered sex offender population who receive the criminal designation. To be deemed a predator, a sex offender has to have been diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes him/her likely to re-offend.

Before Smith is placed into the community, law requires the public be given the opportunity to comment on the proposed location before it is finalized by the court.

A public hearing is scheduled April 27 at 9 a.m. in Department 2102 of the San Diego Superior Court, 1100 Union Street. Public comment will be accepted at the hearing, and the SAFE Task Force will also be accepting public comments through April 11 to be included in the formal response to the court.

Concerned citizens can send comments to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org, or to SVP Release/SAFE Task Force, 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose district includes Jacumba Hot Springs, has already expressed her concern.

“These state officials must have no shame. This vile and violent predator has committed multiple rapes and other brutal acts. A jail cell is the only place that he should call home,” a tweet posted Wednesday by Jacob read.

Jacumba Hot Springs has been a planned destination for several sexually violent predators in recent years. Read about these cases:

Sex Predator Ordered to Jacumba Hot Springs for Supervised Treatment

Judge Waves Off Outrage, Lets Sex Predator Go to Jacumba

Deputies Tell Jacumba Residents Sexual Predator Has Been Released to Community

Further information about sexually violent predators and an explanation of the legal requirements for their designation, treatment and release from confined facilities can be obtained at the San Diego County District Attorney’s website and at the Department of State Hospital’s website.

–Toni McAllister