SVP: What A Neighbor...
Last updated 7/18/2023 at 12:27pm
Sexual Violent Predator Douglas Badger is free. He lives on Zuni Trail in Dry Gulch. The yard of the home, which once belonged to Bret Hayward, is hidden behind a six foot wood fence; the windows are boarded; multiples of movement sensitive , search lights and alarms sit strategically on the outdoor walls and roof; cameras are also, undoubtedly, hidden in secure locations and guards can be seen patrolling the outer parameters at certain times.
Next door neighbors, Liz and George Walczak, wondered if all the security measures are to keep Badger from “integrating with the neighbors” or “to keep the neighbors from knowing what’s going on?”
The 80-year-old Badger can be seen walking in the yard, accompanied by a Liberty Healthcare employee. His food and other necessities are delivered to the home.
While not welcome in the neighborhood, one wonders if he is truly more comfortable in his new surroundings than the maximum-security hospitals where he was housed for 26 years.
However, Badger’s next-door neighbors, George and Liz Walczak, both trained in psychology, are far from comfortable, and said, “We feel like prisoners in our own home.” A home they remodeled and enjoyed for 20 years of family time and as a reprieve from the hectic pace of their professional lives.
“Our lives have become a nightmare. Douglas Badger has cast a dark shadow over our lives and our serene, tranquil and peaceful home,” explained a besieged Liz Walczak.
“We think about sitting on our patio, but it feels too exposed. I can’t look out of my kitchen window without feeling his presence, Barbequing, a family favorite, is out of the question when you have a creepy sensation you are being watched.”
Adding, “In addition to the constant secretive activity next door, there are looky-loos, driving up and down the street to see where the SVP lives, guards are coming in and out, and vandals have invaded Badger’s home.”
“Evidently, the neighbors were told what to expect, but we were out of town for the meetings and door-to-door fliers handed out by the sheriffs. We know absolutely nothing about what goes on next door, or what to expect, and when we ask, we get the runaround,” bemoaned a frustrated Liz Walczak.
“Worse yet, George has been accused of vandalizing Badger’s home.”
The conflict with the new owner of the home, Hany Botros, began over a four-foot property easement and a fence Liberty Healthcare promised to finish, separating the Walczak’s home from the Badger placement.
“The neighborhood used to be great. We helped each other out and enjoyed each other’s company. We didn’t really need fences. Now, the residents are either angry or scared,” George stated.
“My neighbor, Bret Hayward, was experiencing some serious health and financial issues at the time, so I bought the lot that separated our homes to help him out. Because he was a friend, I gave him a generous driveway easement.
He explained, “In buying the land, I had actually acquired property running up to his garage door, but because of the extra four feet of easement, I had given to Bret for his driveway, Botros, assumed he owned four feet of my property along the fence.” George also explained that when Liberty began to install the new fence connected to Walczak’s fence, Liberty Healthcare assumed the new fence line added four feet to the Botros’ property.
“That’s when we began to argue and things began to escalate,” he said.
“I happened to be home on the day workers were installing the fence and I explained the issue to them. They were happy to readjust the boundaries. Botros, on the other hand, was not happy. He had not been expecting me to be home on a Monday. Liberty Healthcare workers had already cut down plants I owned because Botros claimed they were on his property,” George said.
“The bottom line was: Botros trespassed on our land; destroyed our property and neither the County or the Sheriff’s Department were willing to defend me. “
George stated, from then on, communications got unpleasant, and he was forced to continually show the property Titles to prove where his land began and ended.
“When I went to visit Botros to discuss the property miscommunications, he told me in no uncertain terms that I should ‘get the f--- off his land and not to return.’”
Before leaving, George noticed that Botros did not have license plates on his car and wondered what type of people get to drive around without license plates?
When George reported the incident to County regulators, and the sheriffs, he felt the sheriffs were particularly unsympathetic. Even after he shared the Title papers.
“One sheriff told me to leave Botros alone. Another suggested, I get to know Badger, recommending, I ‘have him over for coffee because he is a nice guy.’ As for Botros, we never spoke again, but he took it upon himself to tell anyone who would listen that, he was sure that I was ‘responsible for the vandalism.’”
George took it upon himself to calculate the costs for the security improvements to the home, and said “it seemed like a very expensive way to hide a predator. The fence cost at least $25,000, air conditioning and other new utilities about the same, not to mention the furnishings, landscaping, and security lights, alarms and cameras – all benefiting the owner – Botros.”
“When the easement issue surfaced, I hired an attorney. I was hoping because I had once owned the easement, I could challenge Botros’ and Liberty’s rights to the home. Turned out, I couldn’t.”
George also recalled the night he and Liz were woken up and will never forget.
“One night, Liz and I were aroused from sleep by the sound of sirens and alarms, flares of light flashed from Badger’s place, and a group of sheriffs’ with flashlights were peering into our windows and pounding on the doors.”
“It was like a SWAT scene out of a movie. Unprepared for guests that time of night, and without time to get dressed, I opened the door in my birthday suit. I was told, they wanted to know what I ‘knew about the damage done to Badger’s home earlier in the evening.’ I told them I knew nothing because I was asleep.”
George felt the event was not only humiliating, but threatening.
“I knew the sheriffs thought I was responsible for the vandalism. However, I would have to be pretty stupid to damage the house right next door,” he pointed out.
It did not end there. According to George, a very respectful and courteous sheriff arrived on his doorstep the next day.
“I presumed he was going to apologize for the previous night’s behavior, but no. The sheriff was there to photograph my hands. Evidently, the crew that broke into Badger’s house had cut their hands and left blood behind.
“I was furious that a sheriff had returned, hoping to find evidence that I was the guilty party.” George added, “It’s intimidating enough to live next door to a violent sexual predator. More so, when you can’t count on the Deputy Sheriff’s, the County or even the Fire Department to defend your rights, family, or property.”
“Like Liz said, ‘We are literally prisoners in our own home.’ We can’t afford to sell and move because like other neighbors, the minute Badger moved in, we lost all of the considerable investments into our home, and would be forced to give it away,” George pointed out, adding that’s the “financial cost.” The other price we are paying is with our mental health.
“It’s an alien feeling to be perceived as a bad guy when there’s a sexually violent predator – a very bad guy – living next door. Especially when all you want to do is invite friends with children to your home, bring grandkids to experience the desert, have neighborhood parties again, read a good book, or kick back with a drink and a Borrego Sunset.”