John David Norman – Repeat Sex Offender

Norman has convictions for child molestation in Illinois in 1976 and Colorado in 1988. Additionally, he has been convicted twice in California for distribution of child pornography in 1995 and 1998. His victims were all young males, ages 11-17.

A judge approved a placement site Thursday in the backcountry community of Boulevard for an 81-year-old man classified as a sexually violent predator.

John David Norman, who has been approved for release from a state mental hospital, will be allowed to live under supervision in a home at 1643 Jewel Valley Road.

At the end of a public hearing, Superior Court Judge David M. Gill ruled that the site was appropriate. He directed authorities to release Norman, who is currently being held at a county jail in Otay Mesa, on or before Nov. 15.

Gill noted that Norman would be watched closely by Liberty Healthcare, the corporation contracted by the state to monitor sex offenders, and that he suffers from chronic physical and physiological problems.

The judge said he read numerous letters and e-mails from members of the rural East County community who opposed the site, proposed last month by the state Department of Mental Health. He heard comments Thursday from a few of about 30 people present at the hearing.

Most of them expressed concerns not only about their families’ safety, but also Norman’s safety. They talked about the remoteness of the community and lack of infrastructure, which lengthens response times for law enforcement and emergency services.

Ken Daubach, a volunteer firefighter from Boulevard, said it can take 10 minutes or longer to respond to a call.

Others noted the extreme weather. They said that if power is shut off because of high winds, it would probably disable air conditioners, cell phones and the satellite tracking device Norman will be required to wear.

And, of course, there are rattlesnakes.

“We don’t go looking for them, that’s for sure, but they do come right up to the house,” said resident Pat Stuart.

Lorelei Howard, who lives next to the property where Norman will live, showed photos of her grandchildren who visit and play in the area. Outside the courtroom, she said she was afraid Boulevard will become “a dumping ground for anything San Diego doesn’t want to deal with.”

State law allows people deemed to be sexually violent predators, or SVPs, to be committed to a state hospital after they have served time in prison. If they complete a lengthy treatment program at the hospital, they may be released under heavy supervision.

An SVP is someone who has been convicted of a violent sex crime – such as rape, sexual assault or child molestation – and diagnosed as having a mental disorder such as schizophrenia or pedophilia.

Norman has a history of sexually assaulting and exploiting children dating back to 1960 in Los Angeles.

Jayne Shale, executive director of Liberty Healthcare, said the agency looked at 1,000 sites before choosing the house in Boulevard. She noted that the passage of Jessica’s Law has made it more difficult to find areas where sex offenders who are released from custody can live.

“We have to go to areas that are rural,” Shale said.

The location is 59 miles from downtown San Diego and 38 miles from El Centro, according to the Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement Task Force, a multiagency group that monitors sex offenders.

The residence sits on eight acres, about two miles from an elementary school and three miles from a child care center. There are no parks, recreation centers or youth-oriented businesses within a two-mile radius.

“I am very outraged,” said Amy Massa, a Boulevard resident, after the hearing. “It’s not just about the safety of the children, it’s the safety of everyone.”

“Sexually violent predators are manipulative,” Massa told reporters, expressing concern for children who might have no fear approaching the older man.

Norman has convictions for child molestation in Illinois in 1976 and Colorado in 1988. Additionally, he has been convicted twice in California for distribution of child pornography in 1995 and 1998. His victims were all young males, ages 11-17.

There are seven former sexually violent predators in San Diego County and one current SVP on outpatient supervision.Earlier this year, sexually violent predator Gary Snavely and another SVP were placed in a home in Jacumba. Snavely had his outpatient status revoked and was sent back to a state mental hospital for more treatment.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

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