JOSHUA TREE (CBSLA) — San Bernardino law enforcement and Joshua Tree residents are opposing the relocation of a convicted sexual predator from Ventura County to San Bernardino County.
Ross Leo Wollschlager was declared a sexually violent predator for his crimes in Ventura County back in the 1980s.
Wollschlager served his sentence and underwent treatment. Now, a Ventura County judge has proposed to relocate him to the desert town of Joshua Tree.
San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson, Sheriff John McMahon, and county law enforcement strongly object using Joshua Tree as a "dumping site for a sexual predator with no connections to our county," Anderson said in a statement.
Residents of Joshua Tree are also against welcoming the would-be neighbor.
"This is not what we need in the neighborhood," said one Joshua Tree resident. "Somebody innocent might get hurt."
Wollschlager is being released from a state mental hospital after being convicted of raping and molesting several children in Ventura County in the 1980s.
He was said to have crept into the homes of his victims late at night after first peeping in on them.
In 1983, Wollschlager was charged with four counts of rape, and convicted by his guilty plea of two counts of rape. After serving his sentence, he was paroled in 1987.
After his release, Wollschlager sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl asleep in her bed in her family's home.
He was caught and convicted of committing lewd acts on a child and returned him to state prison before being committed to the Department of State Hospitals for treatment from Ventura County.
On January 31, 2019, Judge Nancy Ayers of Ventura County Superior Court ordered Liberty Healthcare, an organization that helps find housing and provide outpatient treatment and supervision of sexually violent predators, to assist in the conditional release of Wollschlager into the community.
Sheriff John McMahon said law enforcement will fight as hard as they can to keep Wollschlager out of becoming a resident of San Bernardino county.
"For us to be burdened with the additional workload of trying to protect our citizens from an individual that has a pattern and practice of reoffending, raping women, and molesting young children," McMahon said.
According to McMahon, there are over 200 women and children that live within a three-mile radius of Wollschlager's proposed home.
The court will be deciding on Wollschlager's placement on November 7, and Anderson will be there to oppose releasing him to their community.
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