A Superior Court judge learned Thursday that no one has come forward to rent a home to Fresno sexual violent predator Jeffrey Snyder ever since his last potential residence was destroyed by fire five months ago in Squaw Valley.
Because it’s been difficult to find Snyder a home, defense lawyer Curtis Sok suggested for the first time in Fresno County Superior Court that Snyder could be housed temporarily in a motel until a permanent residence can be found for him.
But Judge Gary Hoff said he was not ready to entertain the idea until authorities come up with a plan to strictly monitor Snyder if released to a motel.
Court records say Jeffrey Snyder, now 61, began molesting boys, nearly 10 of them, starting in 1979, causing him to live most of his life behind bars.
Court records say Snyder, now 61, began molesting boys, nearly 10 of them, starting in 1979, causing him to live most of his life behind bars. He has been diagnosed with paraphilia, a condition characterized by abnormal sexual desires, typically involving extreme or dangerous activities. After serving time in prison, the courts determined he was a sexually violent predator and committed him to the Coalinga State Hospital in 2006.
Since then, he has remained in the Coalinga hospital, undergoing counseling and rehabilitation and fighting for his release, Sok said Thursday.
Sok said Snyder earned his freedom during a court hearing in March 2016, after he acknowledged his wrongdoing, showed remorse for his victims and completed intense treatment programs. Back then, Hoff ruled that Snyder could be released to a home in Fresno County under strict conditions, such as 24-hour GPS monitoring.
Liberty Healthcare has a contract with the California Department of State Hospitals to find homes for sexually violent predators. But finding a home for Snyder has been difficult.
Finding a home for Snyder has been difficult.
In August 2016, dozens of residents protested the potential placement of Snyder in a five-bedroom, two-story home on La Paz Avenue in northwest Fresno. Residents said the home was not suitable for Snyder because it was near a school and park and many children live in the neighborhood.
In January this year, authorities identified a mobile home in the foothill community of Squaw Valley as a potential home. But the home was destroyed by fire before Hoff could rule on whether it was a suitable place.
At Thursday’s hearing, Sok said it was imperative to find a home for Snyder because he has been locked up in the Coalinga hospital more than a year after Hoff made his ruling. “He has a 91-year-old mother who is feeble and wants to see her son,” Sok told the judge. “He already lost his father while he was incarcerated.”
Hoff noted for the record that Liberty Healthcare has approached more than 1,365 property owners, but no one wants to rent to Snyder. Hoff asked Liberty Healthcare representative Timothy Fletcher if it was possible to place Snyder in a home on state prison grounds, but Fletcher said no.
Hoff then ordered Fletcher to investigate whether any state or county agency would be willing to house Snyder. Hoff also requested information about whether housing Snyder in a motel was a viable idea. He ordered Fletcher to return to court on June 29 with a report of his findings.
Outside court, Sok said living in a motel is not an ideal solution because Snyder might have to move every three or four days. But he said Snyder has a right to be free under strict monitoring conditions since he has completed his criminal sentence and every program required by the state hospital system.
“I think the community would rather have him live in a permanent place,” Sok said. “This way everyone knows where he is at all times and it’s safe for everyone.”