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By Miriam Raftery
Photo:  Thomas Cornwell, 41, convicted of lewd acts on children under age 14, has been diagnosed with pedophilic disorder
November 14, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob, in a letter to Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, cites disturbing statistics regarding sexually violent predators released in East County.  Of 12 released countywide in the past 15 years, nine were sent to East County. Five of the 12 violated conditions of their release and four were sent back to state mental hospitals, according to Jacob. Yet the state is proposing to release two more sexually violent predators into our region.

Moreover, while San Diego County has a ratio of 961 residents for every sexually violent predator, Jacumba Hot Springs has a 37 to 1 ratio. Now the state wants to add another.  Thomas Cornwell, 41, was convicted of lewd acts on two children under 14 back in 2008. He has ben diagnosed with Pedophilic Disorder but is attracted to both children and adults, male and female, according to San Diego prosecutors.  

He was designated a sexually violent predator in 2015 and sent to Coalinga State Hospital for treatment before San Diego Superior Court Judge Albert Harutunian III granted Cornwall’s petition for release  after a trial, over the objections of the San Diego County District Attorney.
The state has proposed placing Cornwell at 2135 McCain Valley Road, an area near campgrounds and a federal recreation area. The address is in Jacumba Hot Springs but is closest to the town of Boulevard. A hearing on his placement is set for Dec. 19 at 9 a.m. in San Diego Superior Court. The public can send comments before the hearing via email, phone or mail until Nov. 27.
The second sexually violent predator proposed for release locally is Alvin Ray Quarles, known as the “bolder than most” rapist for holding women at knifepoint and forcing their partners to watch sexual assaults. He was charged with over 50 crimes and pled guilty to four rapes. The 4th District Court of Appeal issued a stay blocking his release into Jacumba Hot Springs after vocal objections from the community and victims of Quarles.
In her letter to Becerra, which was copied to Governor Gavin Newsom and San Diego’s legislative delegation, Jacob contends that the state has disproportionately targeted San Diego’s rural East County.
“Action needs to be taken to halt this shameful and callous practice,” Jacob wrote. 
She concluded, “In their attempt to quietly house these monsters in our County, State officials are exploiting and taking advantage of small, rural communities that often lack the resources and clout to challenge these placements. The safety of rural residents and those in nearby communities is further jeopardized by the lack of nearby social, health and law enforcement services that are required for the conditional release program.”

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