The owners of a Rancho Bernardo home where state hospital officials proposed placing a 78-year-old man classified as a sexually violent predator have withdrawn their offer to allow him to be placed at their property, it was announced Friday.
In a letter to the judge overseeing the proposed placement of Douglas Badger, Bryan and Ming Zublin wrote that they could not consent to having him reside at their property “in good conscience.”
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement that the Zublins’ withdrawal has nullified the recommendation to place Badger at 17836 Frondoso Drive.
Badger is classified as a sexually violent predator, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a condition that makes them likely to re-offend.
After serving their prison sentences, SVPs may undergo treatment at state hospitals, but may also petition courts to continue treatment in supervised outpatient locations.
Badger, whose victims were predominately male strangers, many of them hitchhikers, petitioned for release into the Conditional Release Program for sex offenders, which was granted earlier this year.
Last week, it was announced that Badger was recommended for conditional release into the home on Frondoso Drive, which the Zublins previously agreed to allow Liberty Healthcare to rent.
In addition to opposing the placement, the Zublins are also seeking to remove their home from consideration for SVPs by terminating their agreement with Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the state to supervise sexually violent predators on conditional release.
The homeowners say they have since learned that far more children live in the area than they previously were aware of, and that “a multitude of youth sports and educational programs are conducted in close proximity to the house.”
The Zublins also say they learned that a developmentally disabled man lives nearby “who fits the profile of some of Badger’s previous victims.”
A court hearing on Badger’s future before San Diego Superior Court Judge Theodore Weathers had been set for later this month.
Weathers ruled in January that based on testimony from treating physicians and therapists, Badger could be granted conditional release as he would not be a danger to the health and safety of others and was not likely to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior if he was supervised and received treatment.
However, Weathers later declined to place Badger at a home in the Mount Helix neighborhood, citing its proximity to schools, as well as the neighborhood’s hilly terrain and lack of public transportation, which he said could present obstacles for people with mobility issues such as Badger.
In addition to the placement hearing, public comments will be accepted until Oct. 14 regarding the placement. Those comments may be submitted by calling 858-495-3619 or emailing email@example.com. Comments can also be mailed to SVP Release/SAFE Task Force, 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 92123.
The Frondoso Drive proposal has drawn stiff opposition from residents in Rancho Bernardo and nearby Poway, as well as County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, whose district includes Rancho Bernardo.
In a letter to Weathers, Lawson-Remer wrote, “We all deserve to feel safe at home, and moving someone with this violent background into the middle of a community full of families and children defies logic. The fact that most of his victims were young males who were strangers to him make his potential placement near educational and recreational facilities frequented by children particularly troubling.”
Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio alleges the Zublins were “grossly misled” by Liberty Healthcare regarding the potential public safety risks involved with placing Badger at the home.
“I am grateful that the property owners genuinely listened to feedback from the community and, upon learning new information regarding the risks to children, decided to do the right thing in seeking to terminate this contract and asking the judge to deny the placement of this sexual predator,” DeMaio said.
Updated 7:55 p.m. Oct. 1, 2021