Residents in a rural neighborhood of Solano County learned they still have few details on the terms of release of a high-risk sex offender who may soon be placed in a home in their area.
Fraisure Smith, 56, is still in custody at a state hospital. Smith went to prison in 2006 after he pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with intent to commit a sex crime. Smith had a prior conviction for forcible rape in the 1980s.
Locals crowded into a fire station on the western edge of Solano County Thursday night to meet with Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara.
Many were stunned at how little information was available on Smith's possible release to a home in an older, upscale neighborhood in Willotta Oaks.
"Will we get the terms and conditions of release for Fraisure Smith?" resident Patrick Harrington said.
Ferrara explained that even law enforcement does not yet know the terms of Smith's possible release by the Department of State Hospitals.
"We are hindered by a broken process that is shrouded in secrecy," Harrington said.
Smith will be required to wear an ankle bracelet, will face searches of his home twice a week and have an electronic barrier that will send a warning to the private company that will monitor Smith in case he crosses it. Residents expressed shock that the private company, Liberty Health Care, of San Diego, would then notify law enforcement.
"What kind of system is that, where the breach doesn't even go directly to law enforcement?" neighbor Noel Caughman asked.
Neighbor Cherie Turpin, whose sister was attacked by a serial rapist in the 1980s, said she's already having panic attacks, and her family is reliving the trauma they went through.
"The rights of these villains should not take precedence over the rights of our communities, our neighbors, our lives," Turpin said to loud applause.
Ferrara promised a deputy would cover the area full-time, telling neighbors he's as concerned as everyone else at how little they are able to know about where Smith would be allowed to go and other details of his release.
"As you can see, myself and my deputies are frustrated, too," Ferrara said.
After the meeting, many felt little comfort.
"I don't feel any better than I did when we came," neighbor Carla Nelson said. "We had a lot of questions answered. We had a lot of questions that could not be answered."
A public hearing on the state's placement recommendation is scheduled for March 27 at 9 a.m. at Solano County Superior Court. Many neighbors said they plan to be there and make a strong argument to the presiding judge to rule not to put Smith in their neighborhood.