DSH conducts another SVP housing meeting in Placer County; public unrest in this process is growing
Placer County demands the state fixes the broken SVP placement process
Published Oct. 17, 2023
The Department of State Hospitals ("DSH") and their contractor, Liberty Healthcare, held a second meeting regarding the potential placement of state designated sexually violent predator William Stephenson.
Once again, there was a lack of communication leading into the meeting. As the meeting progressed, the community commented on the lack of trust and communication. Survivors of sexual assault, previous neighbors of Mr. Stephenson, officials and concerned community members all spoke in opposition to the DSH run placement process.
While the state offered a virtual log-in system, residents reported that it took them over 30 minutes to log in. Also, the state opted not to attend in person and turning off their cameras - only furthering public distrust and fear.
DSH reported out from the closed session that possible locations were discussed, as well as various issues with these locations. The state’s legal team did not provide any substantive report from the closed meeting and then abruptly ended the meeting.
The last formal report from Liberty Healthcare stated that since January 18, 2022, Liberty has searched 1,291 total properties in Placer County, with 715 of those properties being compliant pursuant to WIC 6608.5. According to Liberty, they continue to search Placer County for a fixed residence for Mr. Stephenson, but currently there are no formal leads. If there was any update to that report, it was not provided to the community.
A resident during the meeting questioned the multi-million-dollar contract of Liberty Healthcare with the State of California, once again calling into question the waste of taxpayer dollars on this failed placement process. The Placer DA’s office will be looking into this contract further to discuss with the state Legislature moving forward as well as tracking the current state audit on the SVP program.
“I am disappointed but unfortunately, not surprised – a statement that sadly, I keep having to repeat,” said Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire. “The state continues to move through this process without clarity or action, which is only increasing distrust and confusion – our residents deserve better. We thank our community for showing up and making their voice heard. Our message was made clear – Placer County will continue to pay attention to this broken process.”
Placer County Sheriff Wayne Woo continued to speak out in opposition of Stephenson saying, “I was contacted by another county partner last week to learn that Liberty Healthcare was exploring the possibility of placing Mr. Stevenson in a tent here at the DeWitt Center mobile transient temporary shelter. This mistrust is why we continue to have extreme concerns with the placement of Mr. Stevenson here in Placer County. We’re going on 18 months in Placer County and I believe it’s time to say that we have done our due diligence here in Placer County.”
The next court date for Mr. Stephenson will be Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. in Department 30 of the Placer Superior Court in Roseville. There will be no action taken, as the meeting is just a check-in at this time. Residents who want to have their voice heard by the judge about this meeting, the release, or anything regarding the SVP placement process they can do so through the case portal at www.placer.ca.gov/SVP. Residents can submit multiple letters if they have updated information they want to share with the judge.