Did Placer County try to Slip a Sexually Violent Predator into Amador County?
70% of sexually violent predators released into communities in California were returned to custody
By Katy Grimes, March 31, 2023 3:00 am
Why would a sexually violent predator be ordered to another county for release than his county of domicile?
“For too long, the state has been sneaking around trying to release or parole dangerous sexually violent predators (SVPs) and rapists in residential neighborhoods,” Senate Republican Leader Brian Jones told the Globe recently.
The Senate Minority Leader made a formal request in February that the Joint Legislative Audit Committee authorize an audit of Liberty Healthcare’s long-running exclusive contract to manage the Sexually Violent Predator Conditional Release Program (SVP CONREP) currently overseen by the Department of State Hospitals (DSH). Sen. Jones is committed to reforming the SVP release and placement process so that public safety is top priority.
Sen. Jones said this has been going on for 20 years, largely unchecked, through the little known program.
SVP CONREP is a rogue program coming under increasing public scrutiny and criticism for its lack of accountability and transparency, its wasteful spending of tax dollars, its casual treatment of public safety concerns, as well as its unresponsiveness to local officials and state legislative offices, according to Sen. Jones, the Globe reported.
Since 2003, Liberty Healthcare Corporation has been the Conditional Release supervision program for Sexually Violent Predators in California.
And now we have another sexually violent predator, William Stephenson, about to be placed in Amador County, rather than in his county of domicile, Placer County, as is required by state law.
“Why can’t they [Placer County] do a double-wide or tiny house,” asked Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe. The Globe spoke with DA Riebe Monday about Mr. Stephenson being placed in Amador County, and asked how and why?
DA Riebe said he and Amador County Sheriff Gary Redman were not given any information on what the extraordinary circumstances are for relocating Mr. Stephenson to Amador, nor were they provided any information on what efforts to find a suitable location were.
“And we’ve received no documentation from the Placer County Court.”
A resident of Amador County wrote a letter last week to SVP CONREP and Liberty Healthcare, and copied the Globe, with grim details about Mr. Stephenson’s history, available at the state’s Megan’s Law website:
“Mr. Stephenson was convicted of sexual battery, oral copulation by force or fear, sexual penetration of a victim with a foreign object by force, indecent exposure, and assault with intent to commit a specified sexoffense. He has been a known offender since his arrest and first convictions in 1991. After serving time in State Prison, and while residing in Roseville (Placer County, CA) on a CONREP r e l e a s e , he reoffended and was arrested in 2017 for possession of child pornography. He has been deemed a Sexually
Violent Predator (SVP).
I am aware of published media accounts of Stephenson effectively terrorizing his Roseville neighborhood while under the care and supervision of Liberty. I am also aware that his conduct while under Liberty’s supervision, and the resulting very public outcry, resulted in Roseville Police and the Placer County District Attorney’s Office launching an investigation that resulted in the 2017 arrest.
Considering the previous local concern and resulting media coverage during Stephenson’s last release into his Placer County Community, coupled with the fact that Stephenson has no ties whatsoever to Amador County, I can only assume that the CONREP program took a look at a map and identified Amador County for his release based on its relatively large geographic size as related to its low population – the perfect community to slip Stephenson into, under the radar. Rest assured, Mr. Stephenson is now very much on our radar.”
DA Riebe said standard procedure to justify placement of a SVP is to show Mr. Stephenson actually lived in Amador County prior, but he did not. They must identify his next of kin, as well as his employment. Since Stephenson never lived in Amador County, DA Riebe said this placement in Amador County is questionable.
He also noted that the property chosen by Liberty Healthcare for Mr. Stephenson abuts another property where 10 children are located, as well as abutting a school bus stop. Given the fact that Mr. Stephenson has re-offended before, this is obviously a red flag and quite likely a violation of the law.
Amador County has one psychiatrist for the entire county, jails and prisons. “We can’t provide him mental health care – we are strapped,” DA Riebe said. “And the Sheriff can’t monitor him 24/7.”
Since DA Riebe and the Globe first spoke on Monday, the Amador County Board of Supervisors met and discussed this case, and a number of additional issues have come up in the meantime. DA Riebe told the Globe Thursday afternoon Mr. Stephenson’s case may be operating under a 2022 law, SB 1034 by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), since Placer County made their extraordinary circumstances decision before January 1, 2023, concerning his placement, decided in the fall of 2022.
Bill analysis of SB 1034 states:
“This bill establishes a process for finding housing for a sexually violent predator (SVP) who has been found to no longer be a danger and set forth what a court must do in order to determine extraordinary circumstances exist so that a sexually violent predator cannot be placed in the county of domicile.”
“Assembly Amendments clarify that the court shall make a determination that the person would not be a danger to the health and safety of others in that the person will engage in sexually criminal behavior due to the person’s diagnosed mental disorder before releasing on conditional release; requires 30 days notice to the district attorney if the person is being placed in a different county.”
Riebe has placed many phone calls to those involved, and said the situation is fluid right now. We will know more next week and will update the story then.
In the meantime, read Sen. Jones’ detailed description of the SVP CONREP program, and why he says it needs to be audited. Jones includes media reports going back to 2003 about Liberty Healthcare, and convicted Sexually Violent Predators placed in residential neighborhoods near families.
What is obvious is that no county wants sexually violent predators released into their communities.
Attached is SB 1034 analysis:202120220SB1034_Senate Floor Analyses
One thought on “Did Placer County try to Slip a Sexually Violent Predator into Amador County?”
I can confirm that this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. When I monitored my local school district some 16-17 years ago the presence of “sober living homes” — what you might call a “village” of halfway houses in a several-block area in an unincorporated part of L.A. County — were actually housing groups of what turned out to be mostly sexual predators. A number of “sober living homes” taking over a residential neighborhood is bad enough but “sober living homes” was euphemism. As I recall the area was found to be a “sweet spot” that ironically was chosen because of local ordinances that prevented sexual predators from living within a certain distance from schools. Thus the county dumped the sexual predators — whom nobody wanted near them — into this residential area. I took a drive up to this dicey area one day after noting the affected addresses and as I recall I could see that nearly every other house on each block had this designation. The issue was publicized but the citizens who took it up with L.A. County got nowhere. Because this happened some time ago I do not remember all the details of this discovery, of the objections to it, nor of the outcome. But we have most recently seen this in San Diego County’s use of El Cajon as a dumping ground and that El Cajon officials were unable to do anything about it, resulting in the rapes of 13 year old girls. El Cajon may still have their hands tied even after those horrible incidents occurred and were publicized. We’ll see.