SVP Placement – Final Argument on Feb. 15, Call for Audit
Last updated 2/14/2023 at 1:18pm
On Friday Feb. 10, Judge Theodore Weathers held a court review about the on-going proposed placement of Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Douglas Badger at 1619 Zuni Trail in Borrego Springs. The final arguments review is scheduled for Feb. 15, at 9 a.m. and will be open to the public.
What may also affect this is a press release from Senator Brian Jones about his request that the CA Joint Legislative Audit Committee authorize an audit of Liberty Healthcare’s long-running exclusive contract to manage the SVP Conditional Release Program (CONREP) for the CA Department of State Hospitals.
This proposed placement has been objected to by the residents of Borrego Springs since the initial proposal in August 2022. At that time, residents expressed strong feelings about the risk SVP Badger would pose to the community, including nearby children. The Sheriff’s Department SAFE Task Force received 242 email messages, 17 telephone messages, four letters via US Mail, and a petition with signatures of 552 people. All comments were in opposition to the placement of SVP Badger in Borrego Springs. A site assessment was performed for the court’s benefit and remains under seal, although it is widely known that there are building code violations. Windows around the house are currently boarded up.
The court has heard an argument that there is a homeschool operating within the quarter-mile exclusion zone (CA Welfare and Institutions Code 6608.5(f)) for SVP’s who molested a child. Public Defender (PD) Alexandra Knudson, on behalf of SVP Badger, recently stated in court documents that children are not primary in SVP Badger’s victim profile, meaning that he was convicted of more violent sexual acts against adults as well as other crimes, including kidnapping a federal judge and embezzlement, to list a few.
It is up to the court to determine whether or not “good cause” exists to grant or deny the placement of SVP Badger in the house on Zuni Trail, proposed by the CA Department of State Hospitals and the exclusive contracting agent for the Conditional Release Program (CONREP), Liberty Healthcare which is headquartered in Pennsylvania.
This week, PD Knudson, arguing on behalf of her client, SVP Badger, presented documentation to Judge Weathers this week that she claims shows that a home school is not functioning within ¼ mile of the Zuni Trail house. PD Knudson had school records for Dr. Kellmeyer’s daughter for 2022 and part of January 2023, that she says is evidence that a home school is not operating from Dr. Kellmeyer’s residence. This was submitted to the court to attempt to contradict documents from Dr. Kellmeyer submitted through Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle that a home school is properly registered and functioning.
PD Knudson is relying on a statement from the Court in the Santa Cruz County (Cheeks) case, which held that “if the evidence did not support that a site purporting to be a school is actually providing instruction, placement would not be precluded.” PD Knudson wrote in her January 24th report to the court that she believes Dr. Kellmeyer filed a false affidavit with the Department of Education in an attempt to mislead the court and preclude the placement of SVP Badger. PD Knudson claims that Dr. Kellmeyer’s homeschool is not providing instruction because her children are full time students in other schools in San Diego.
On Feb. 7, DDA Doyle presented the People’s Supplemental Points and Authorities regarding Proposed Zuni Trails Outpatient Placement of SVP Badger. DDA Doyle reported that the Public Defender’s response on January 24, “shifts the distance exclusion focus about the homeschool from the Kellmeyer property not legally constituting a “school” for purposes of subdivision (f) of Section 6608.5, to the Kellmeyer property not factually “operating” as a school under the distance exclusion provision.”
This report contained reports of inspection of Dr. Kellmeyer’s homeschool by local Principal Victoria Baay including her observation of instruction being given, lessons, and student participation. The report also includes Course of Study, Weekly Lesson Plans, Instruction records and photographs of the student engaging in class activities. Also included are attendance history for the children.
DDA Doyle’s report succinctly states that families who object to SVP placement near their homeschools are placed in an awkward position. “A Sexually Violent Predator is almost invited to conduct an invasive personal investigation into children’s educations and their parent’s residency. These children and parents did nothing wrong other than to suffer the misfortune of the State Department of Hospitals proposing to place a Sexually Violent Predator on outpatient release within a one-quarter mile of their home and purported school. The courts are called upon to make credibility judgements about what parents claim occurs within the walls of their own homes with respect to their children’s education.”
Apart from courtroom proceedings, CA Senator Brian Jones requested an audit to examine the lack of accountability and transparency of Liberty Healthcare in managing the SVP CONREP. Senator Jones’ letter to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee describes the East Coast based company of employing a disturbing placement strategy of “Hide the Predator”. Details of leasing houses for SVPs are kept secret from neighbors, school officials and law enforcement.
In his letter, Senator Jones quotes a Borrego Sun article in June 2022 with a quote from Liberty Healthcare Representative, Dr. Cameron Zeidler, who stated that SVPs returned to custody from CONREP were returned for “technical reasons or sex not involving a human.”
In conclusion, the DA’s office is in the awkward position of advocating for families who are being investigated as potentially breaking the law when exercising their right to establish a homeschool. In this case, the Borrego Springs SVP Task Force and community members have rallied to provide support to the Kellmeyer family to “defend” themselves against the Public Defender and Department of State Hospital’s investigation.