Dahle, Senate Republicans blast decision to dump sexually violent predator in Placer County

Brian Dahle. File photo

California Senate Republicans join Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire in blasting a court decision authorizing state contractor Liberty Healthcare to dump sexually violent predator William Robert Stephenson at an undisclosed location in Placer County. Read more about the state’s failed SVP Conditional Release Program here.

“Our priority should be the safety of our residents, not the comfort of a dangerous criminal,” said Senator Brian Dahle who represents all of Placer County. “Before any future sexually violent predator is released into any community in California, we must review the full audit of the troubling contract between the state and Liberty Healthcare.”

As part of the SVP release program, East Coast-based Liberty Healthcare announced its plans to purchase a brand new RV using taxpayer funds to house SVP Stephenson as a transient in Placer County.

Stephenson’s long criminal history of sexual violence dates back to the 1980s when he was classified as an SVP. An SVP is an individual convicted of a sexually violent offense and diagnosed with a mental disorder that causes them to be a danger to others with a high likelihood to reoffend. After serving 31 years in state prison, he was arrested again in 2017 for possessing child pornography on his electronic devices.

“I’m deeply concerned that Stephenson is being released into the community as a ‘transient.’ He’s far too dangerous to be allowed to roam our communities without 24-hour supervision,” said Senator Roger Niello, who represents portions of Placer County where Stephenson may be released. “I’m grateful for the attention that Senator Jones is shedding on Liberty Healthcare and their questionable practice of secretly releasing sexually violent predators into our communities.”

Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones has been a vocal critic of Liberty Healthcare’s long-running exclusive contract to manage the release of SVPs. This year, he pushed for an audit of Liberty Healthcare, which the Joint Legislative Audit Committee unanimously approved last month. Jones’s audit request will investigate Liberty Healthcare’s effectiveness in placing and monitoring SVPs, how much taxpayer dollars they have spent, and how the placement process can be improved.

“East Coast-based Liberty Healthcare sneaks into unsuspecting communities across California and employs a disturbing placement strategy where they try to secretly release dangerous SVPs and rapists into residential neighborhoods,” said Jones. “Our audit of Liberty Healthcare is underway the results could not come soon enough. It’s outrageous that taxpayers are funding a brand new RV for this dangerous predator. He should not be allowed to roam the community as a ‘transient’ given his horrific history.”

Senate Republicans urge residents in Placer County to express their concerns at a public hearing for Stephenson, which will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 1 at the Placer County Superior Court in Department 4.