Despite opposition by Placer County officials and residents, sexually violent predator William Stevenson is slated for release by state officials in the Northern California county, “but they are not yet prepared to reveal where,” CBS News reports.
“The California Department of State Hospitals has been trying for months to find housing for William Stephenson, a legally designated sexually violent predator (SVP) whose crimes span decades.
On Monday, the Placer County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release that state officials notified the county Superior Court of the potential location in a hearing. The state requested that the court authorize a financial hold while they vet the property.
The state said it would pay the owner of the property $7,000 a month just to hold it for them. The location of the property was not disclosed.”
UPDATE: Placer County says Stephenson has not been released yet and is still at the State Hospital.
Convicted sex offender William Stephenson has been in the custody of the Department of State Hospitals, enrolled in the sexually violent predator program.
In March, the Globe reported on the sexually violent predator who was being released for the second time from prison. And he was going to be released to another county rather than his home county, as the law requires. William Stephenson was to be placed in Amador County, rather than in his county of domicile, Placer County, as is required by state law in.
The Globe spoke with Amador County District Attorney Riebe 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 were for relocating Mr. Stephenson to Amador, nor were they provided any information on what efforts to find a suitable location were.
We asked, “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 in March.
Amador County would not become home to William Stephenson, we reported in April.
By July 2023, we reported that Stephenson was being released in Placer County.
A convicted sex offender will be released as a transient in Placer County, according to a release from the district attorney’s office. The Placer County District Attorney’s Office said it “has vehemently opposed” William Stephenson’s release during every court proceeding involving the sex offender. On Monday, after a three-hour hearing and argument, the judge granted Stephenson transient release in Placer County.
Yet the outcry from Placer County residents was so substantial, the Judge denied immediate release of Stephenson in Placer County in July.
According to People v. Stephenson, No. C063676, 4 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 16, 2013), this is Stephenson’s factual background:
The defendant began exposing himself in public in 1984, including exposing himself to high school students. In his words, he “got hooked on the behavior . . . , just on the adrenaline, . . . just the breaking of the law, doing the things, the shocking value of it. It . . . made [him] alive for that brief moment.””
The defendant’s criminal sexual behavior escalated in 1985 to assault. He continued until arrested in 2006.
No one wants a sexually violent predator released to their neighborhood.
Sen. Jones made a formal request last 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.
And last Friday, Assemblyman Joe Patterson (R-Rocklin) introduced a new bill to ban all release of SVPs as transients into California communities. He wants to strengthen the definition of acceptable housing when these offenders are released from state hospitals after they complete their mandated treatment, CBS News reported.
A resident of Amador County familiar with Stephenson’s lengthy case wrote a letter in March 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).
A member of local law enforcement told the Globe that the state is well aware that Sexually
Violent Predators on transient release fail half of the time.
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