A convicted California child molester who moved to Riverside, Ca., after being released from a mental hospital was forced to move for the second time this week because of protests from neighbors.
Nearly 200 parents, children and other community members demonstrated yesterday outside a halfway house that was home to David Claud Phillips, who was released last week after 21 years in custody. Phillips, 54, was convicted in 1982 of sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son.
After a judge ordered Phillips’s release, he moved to a friend’s house. Riverside police alerted neighbors that a “high risk” sex offender had moved into the area, causing protests from residents. Phillips moved to the halfway house. A resident of the halfway house informed demonstrators that Phillips had been told to leave because of the attention he was generating.
Local residents were concerned that he had the right to live within half a mile of two schools. “There are about 2,300 kids between 4 and 14 at those schools,” Marty Alarcon said. “If [the law] doesn’t have enough teeth to keep a guy like him away from here, it needs more teeth. I believe the placement alone of this man in this neighborhood is child abuse. Our children are frightened.”
Susan Holmes, a mother of four who organized the afternoon protest, acknowledged that if police continue to post fliers in every neighborhood where Phillips lives, he might eventually start dodging police. “If he does go underground, at least there’s a consequence to his action that would send him [into custody] again,” she said. “It does bother me, though, that, yes, we’ll chase him out, but now he becomes someone else’s problem.”