Mo­tels home of last re­sort for of­fender

Fresno County forced to turn to tem­po­rary hous­ing for con­victed child preda­tor.

Los Angeles Times - - CALIFORNIA - By Veron­ica Rocha

A con­victed child preda­tor whose pro­posed home was de­stroyed in a sus­pi­cious fire has been re­leased and is liv­ing in mo­tels in Fresno County.

Jeffrey Snyder, 61, was re­leased Mon­day from Coalinga State Hos­pi­tal and placed in the cus­tody of Lib­erty Health­care, ac­cord­ing to the Fresno County dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice.

Lib­erty, the con­trac­tor hired to su­per­vise Snyder 24 hours a day, and the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of State Hos­pi­tals looked at 1,749 homes in Fresno County as pos­si­ble res­i­dences for him. But none of the homes was deemed suitable for Snyder, a sex­u­ally vi­o­lent preda­tor con­victed seven times of mo­lest­ing chil­dren, the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice said in a state­ment. With few op­tions re­main­ing, au­thor­i­ties had to house Snyder in mo­tels.

The sub­ject of Snyder’s hous­ing has been con­tentious for Fresno County res­i­dents. Un­der the law, he must be re­lo­cated in Fresno County, be­cause that is where he was pros­e­cuted. A county judge pre­vi­ously re­jected a bid to move him to north­west Fresno af­ter own­ers of nearly 300 prop­er­ties de­clined to rent to him, the Fresno Bee re­ported.

In Jan­uary, au­thor­i­ties thought they had fi­nally found hous­ing for Snyder.

But be­fore he could move into the home, a court hear­ing was re­quired to be held for public com­ment. So that month, the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice and the Fresno County Sher­iff’s Of­fice an­nounced the court hear­ing dis­cussing his place­ment on the ru­ral prop­erty.

The an­nounce­ments in­cluded de­tails about the pro­posed 756-square-foot, two-bed­room home and its ad­dress in Squaw Val­ley, an area in south­west Fresno County.

In a Face­book post, the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice urged Squaw Val­ley res­i­dents to speak up to stop Snyder’s place­ment in their com­mu­nity. “It’s im­por­tant to note that this same per­son was sched­uled to be moved into a north­west Fresno neigh­bor­hood last year, but res­i­dents fought back and stopped him from mov­ing in. Now the peo­ple of Squaw Val­ley have an op­por­tu­nity to speak up,” the Sher­iff ’s Of­fice wrote.

Days af­ter the an­nounce­ments, Snyder’s pro­posed home was de­stroyed in a sus­pi­cious fire. Fire of­fi­cials said the timing of the blaze raised some flags. The cause of the fire was never de­ter­mined, said Capt. Jeremiah Wit­twer, spokesman for the Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Forestry and Fire Pro­tec­tion for Fresno County. In­ves­ti­ga­tors were “not able to rule out the cause of elec­tri­cal or ar­son,” he said.

Snyder has been in and out of prison since 1979, when he was found to be “a men­tally dis­or­dered sex of­fender.” Ac­cord­ing to the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s of­fice, Snyder’s vic­tims were boys 8 to 17.

Af­ter he was re­leased from prison, Snyder was sent to Coalinga State Hos­pi­tal, where he was re­ceiv­ing sex-of­fender treat­ment.

In March, a Fresno County Su­pe­rior Court judge ruled that al­though Snyder still met the cri­te­ria of a sex­u­ally vi­o­lent preda­tor, he was el­i­gi­ble for out­pa­tient treat­ment only through a con­di­tional re­lease. In June, the county judge or­dered his re­lease. On con­di­tional re­lease, Snyder must wear a GPS an­kle bracelet and at­tend sex-of­fender treat­ment.

Be­cause Snyder doesn’t have a per­ma­nent res­i­dence, he must reg­is­ter as a tran­sient sex of­fender with lo­cal po­lice and check in ev­ery 30 days, said Tony Botti, a sher­iff’s spokesman. Sex of­fend­ers who have per­ma­nent home ad­dresses reg­is­ter on a yearly ba­sis.

Records showed that Snyder reg­is­tered Tues­day as a sex of­fender with the Fresno Po­lice De­part­ment, Botti said.

If he vi­o­lates the con­di­tions

The Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of State Hos­pi­tals looked at 1,749 homes in Fresno County as pos­si­ble res­i­dences for Jeffrey Snyder.

of his re­lease, he could be sent back to Coalinga State Hos­pi­tal. Mean­while, the search for per­ma­nent hous­ing for Snyder con­tin­ues. If and when a suitable home is found, a court hear­ing will be held for public com­ment, pros­e­cu­tors said.

On Wed­nes­day, Snyder’s at­tor­ney, Cur­tis Sok, said he was wor­ried about his client and hoped that he would re­cover. “While I fear for his safety and well-be­ing af­ter his re­lease, I hope he would be a con­struc­tive and con­tribut­ing mem­ber of our so­ci­ety, and the com­mu­nity will eventually ac­cept and sup­port his rein­te­gra­tion to our so­ci­ety as it would for any re­cov­er­ing and re­ha­bil­i­tated ad­dict or ex-felon.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.