In a rare move, the state wants to place a sexually violent predator in rural Placer County, leading the Sheriff’s Office to distribute fliers warning residents about Dariel Shazier before a judge approves his placement.
Shazier, 50, has an extensive history of gaining the trust of teenage boys by offering to teach them karate, portraying himself as “Master Tang” and earning a “cultlike following” that enables him to sexually abuse children, court records show. Several times, the abuse occurred after his release from prison, and some experts say Shazier’s lack of emotional control makes it “likely he will commit new predatory violent sex offenses unless securely confined and treated,” according to a California Supreme Court decision.
Shazier is currently in a state care facility in the sexually violent predator program run by the California Department of State Hospitals. The department has 488 offenders in the program in Coalinga. Statewide, 12 people in the sexually violent predator program receive outpatient treatment in a community, department spokesman Ralph Montano said.
Shazier was in a protracted legal battle with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office over his confinement and was eventually approved last year for release. The state was not able to find an appropriate location for Shazier in Santa Clara County because of limits on how close such an offender can be to schools, parks and other facilities, said prosecutor Pinaki Chakravorty.
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A Santa Clara Superior Court judge is scheduled Feb. 7 to hear a request by the Department of State Hospitals to place Shazier in the home northeast of Lincoln. Privacy restrictions prevent the department from commenting on the case, Montano said. A private company, Liberty Healthcare, provides treatment and monitoring to offenders in outpatient treatment, he said.
It is unclear how the Placer County location was chosen.
Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner and the District Attorney’s Office oppose the placement of Shazier in a house on Kilaga Springs Road. The Sheriff’s Office delivered fliers about Shazier’s hearing to homes, businesses and other places in roughly a 1-mile radius surrounding his proposed placement, said Lt. Troy Minton-Sander, a sheriff’s spokesman.
“He has no family here, he has no connection to Placer County,” he said. “It’s in the best interests of the community and Mr. Shazier’s treatment that he not be placed here.”
A statement from Bonner to the Superior Court stresses that the home is near Hidden Falls Regional Park, where many children play, as well as Camp Far West Reservoir, “where families recreate on a year-round basis.”
“Placer County is not the right fit for Shazier as the location does not afford him options to assimilate anonymously back into society,” Bonner wrote in the statement. “Randomly choosing Placer County for him to reside is, in my opinion, irresponsible.”
Attempts to place sexually violent predators in other communities have met widespread opposition.
The Department of State Hospitals tried to place serial rapist Eldridge Chaney Jr. in Monterey County when the owners of the house where he would have lived abruptly changed their minds in 2015, according to news reports. The department is now trying to place Chaney in Yuba County, where the sheriff and other officials are seeking to block the move. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Leslie Carbah.
The department tried to place a second sexually violent predator in the same house, but a Solano County judge rejected the move after hearing from a number of Yuba County officials, she said.
Residents are working with Placer County officials to mobilize opposition to Shazier’s placement. A Facebook page dedicated to the issue, Keeping Lincoln Safe, has more than 2,400 members.
“I don’t see how someone with that many offenses can be placed in the community and not be on parole,” said Lincoln resident Steve Borba, who added that he worries about the safety of his children.
“Our neighborhood is full of children,” said Angie Rowland, adding that she lives about 1,000 feet from Shazier’s proposed home. “I don’t think there’s a single person around here who’s not concerned.”
According to the Department of State Hospitals website, when a sexually violent predator is released into the community, 24-hour security is “usually in place” and includes GPS monitoring of the offender.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office had a long and troubled effort trying to commit Shazier as a sexually violent predator. To place an offender in the state hospital program for sexual predators requires a criminal proceeding. Shazier had a prior conviction for child sex offenses and several earlier related charges, when he established a pattern of getting released from prison and violating parole by deceiving children and assaulting them, according to a 2014 opinion by the California Supreme Court.
He was eventually convicted of a second child sex offense, and while serving a prison sentence, the District Attorney’s Office moved to have him confined at a state hospital.
His confinement was considered three times by juries, with the first ending in a hung jury and the second and third jury verdicts against him overturned by an appellate court because of alleged prosecutor misconduct. Finally, in 2014, the state Supreme Court essentially upheld the decision against him. During the period of these cases, Shazier was held in a state hospital, Chakravorty said.
In 2015, the Department of State Hospitals made a motion to have Shazier released conditionally. Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Richard Loftus granted that request in February 2016, Chakravorty said. While he respects the judge’s decision, Chakravorty noted that prosecution experts testified that Shazier was not safe to release and one of the state’s experts agreed with some of their assessment.