California is paying about $2,000 a month in rent, utilities, food and water for a sexually violent predator to live in an unincorporated desert, and residents are not happy about it, reports USA Today. One resident said the offender, Steven Willett, 57, was “dumped in the desert.” He has a criminal record that includes four felony convictions for sex crimes. After Willett’s last prison stint ended in 1997, he was declared a sexually violent predator by a judge and committed to a state mental health hospital under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Law, which allows for civil commitment for sex offenders found to pose extreme danger to society.
His relocation last September to housing in the remote area – after both a doctor and then a judge in 2007 determined Willett would not be a danger to others while under supervision and treatment in the community – has generated anger in the community and is an example of the issues states face as they pass or refine laws regarding released sex offenders and where they can live. California is one of 20 states to allow civil commitment of violent sexual offenders determined to have mental disorders likely to cause them to strike again.