AUBURN, Calif. — Placer County is fighting back to keep a sexually violent predator out of its backyard.
The case of William Stephenson is now forcing county leaders to create a website for the public to voice its opinion about the matter.
“I’m concerned about my community,” said resident Julie Soto. “I do not understand this. I do not understand with his record, why this is happening now in Placer County.”
The Placer County District Attorney’s Office says Stephenson was first convicted of indecent exposure in 1985 in Sacramento County. Then in 1991, he was convicted of sexual violence which resulted in a sentence to 31 years. He was released in 2014, then 3 years later, he was caught with child pornography.
A state health provider, Liberty Healthcare, oversees finding Stephenson a place to live. At the moment, it is looking for him to move into a RV at an undisclosed Placer location.
“My concern is what’s going to stop him from reoffending again?” said Soto.
Soto started an online petition to create a movement to keep Stephenson away from the county.
“I’m all for second chances, but he kind of blew that,” said resident Lisa Ensbury.
Ensbury is also hoping to do the same, starting a Facebook group called ‘Release of William Stephenson.’
“I do understand that he served this time, I do understand he is going to be released,” said Ensbury. “I am completely against him being released as a transient because nobody can keep track of that. It puts our entire community at risk.”
The county District Attorney’s office is adamant they do not want him released. Now they have created a website where people can give their feedback on the case.
“I definitely think that they are prioritizing the criminals over the victims, I think it really traumatized the victims when they release people like this, the sexually violent predators,” said Soto.
We reached out to the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH), which is working with the Liberty Healthcare, said they cannot release any information because of state and federal privacy laws.
Placer DA said DSH filed a formal notice Friday ahead of the court date. But the District Attorney’s office says the notice did not provide a specific location where Stephenson will stay or action plan of how Liberty Healthcare will find a location. The DA’s office went onto to say until a plan can be presented, Stephenson’s release should be delayed.
Stephenson’s next hearing is set for Sept. 1 in Auburn.
WATCH MORE: ‘Sexually violent predator’ to be released in Placer County
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