Meandering
Thoughts

Example of Liberty Healthcare's work in San Diego County.

  Posted: August 14, 2021
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
Over 10 years of sharing the Love.
Opinion by Ted Stimpfel

A Meeting With The Owners
Of 47998 Lake Irene Drive

Introduction

    47998 Lake Irene Drive in Newberry Springs is the proposed site for the settlement of Lawtis Donald Rhoden, 72, a man who has spent much of his life in California behind bars for a multiple of violent sexual penetrations of young girls in 1984.

    Lawtis Rhoden's span of pathological paraphilic disorder is recorded going back to 1969 where he left a destructive pedophilia path in Florida and Tennessee.  He was sentenced for raping a 13-year-old girl.  After serving his time, and while released on parole, he assaulted four additional children.

    After release from Tennessee and moving to Southern California, he was convicted in 1984 for more rapes of children in Los Angeles and Orange counties.  After serving mucho prison time, an Orange County judge might now release this repeat child offender to the Candyland of Newberry Springs.

    Here are a few of Rhoden's offenses snipped from the decision of the PEOPLE v. RHODEN No. G048677 ~ Court of Appeals of California, Fourth District, Division Three.  Filed January 15, 2016.

    In June 1966, Frances B. met Rhoden at a party and agreed to walk with him through a nearby university campus. As they walked by a construction site, Rhoden pulled out a knife, held it to her throat, and threatened to hurt her unless she followed his instructions. He forced her into the construction site and told her to remove her clothes. He held the knife to her throat as he raped her. He later walked her back to her apartment. Frances filed a police report and subsequently identified Rhoden in a lineup. After speaking with the district attorney, however, she decided not to press charges because she was ashamed and did not believe the district attorney supported her.

    In April 1984, 14-year-old Tina S. was walking to school when Rhoden, who was in his early 30's, drove his car in front of her and blocked her path. Through the driver's side window, Rhoden told her that he was a photographer and asked her if he could take modeling photographs of her. She refused and tried to walk around his car. Rhoden got out of his car, grabbed her arm, and pulled her into the car. Tina tried to escape, but Rhoden locked the doors and drove to a secluded parking structure. Rhoden raped Tina. As he did, Tina cried and told him to stop, but Rhoden said, "Shut up and just let me finish." Later, Rhoden drove Tina to school and gave her $40. Rhoden subsequently pleaded guilty to forcible rape charges.

    In June 1984, 17-year old Christina S. was walking home when Rhoden drove his car next to her on the street. As he sat in the car, Rhoden asked her if she was interested in taking modeling photographs with him. Christina got into his car, and he drove to a secluded carport. Rhoden raped Christina. Later, Rhoden drove her back to the street and gave her $20. A jury convicted Rhoden of rape by force, forceful sexual penetration, and sexual battery.


If this statistic is correct,
multiply Rhoden's known rapes by 4.

    In June 1984, 14-year-old Kathryn L. was walking home when Rhoden drove his car next to her and motioned for her to speak with him. Kathryn initially refused but eventually acquiesced when Rhoden called out to her. Rhoden told Kathryn that he was a photographer and asked if she wanted to participate in a modeling photoshoot. Rhoden's girlfriend, who was in the car, encouraged Kathryn to participate. Kathryn agreed, and Rhoden drove to a supermarket parking lot where his girlfriend got out of the car. He drove away with Kathryn. At a stoplight, Kathryn reached for the door handle to escape, but Rhoden said, "`I wouldn't do that if I were you.'" Kathryn felt threatened and remained in the car. Rhoden drove to a secluded area. Rhoden leaned Kathryn against the car door and raped her. When she told him to stop and tried to push him off, Rhoden said, "`Just let me finish.'" Later, Rhoden drove Kathryn to a street near her house and gave her $20. A jury convicted Rhoden of forcible rape.

    In December 1984, 13-year-old Kimberly W. met Rhoden in a motel room to take part in what she believed was a modeling photoshoot. Rhoden took several photographs of Kimberly in lingerie. He performed oral sex on her and raped her. During the rape, Kimberly repeatedly told him to stop and at one point kicked him. He masturbated and ejaculated onto her. Afterward, Rhoden promised to buy Kimberly a computer if she agreed not to tell her mother what he had done to her. A jury convicted Rhoden of rape and the use of a minor for obscene purposes.

    Just 7-days prior to Rhoden's sentence release in 2004 for his known damages in California, the Orange County District Attorney filed a Sexually Violent Predator ("SVP") petition and substantiated to a jury that Rhoden had the propensity to continue assaulting young girls and that Rhoden was qualified under the state's Sexually Violent Predator Act (SVPA) (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 6600 et seq.).  This allowed the state to maintain custody of Rhoden in a state mental hospital.

    "The SVPA authorizes the state to civilly commit persons found to be sexually violent predators (SVP's) after they conclude their prison terms. (§ 6604.)   Section 6600, subdivision (a)(1), defines a sexually violent predator as "a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior."  Commitment is for an indeterminate term. (§ 6604.)  Department of State Hospitals must examine the committed person's mental condition at least annually. (§ 6604.9, subd. (a)."   ~ From Rhoden's Appellate Ct. decision Jan. 16, 2020.

    Rhoden subsequently shopped and acquired a doctor that opined during an annual review that Rhoden can be eligible for a conditional release.


47998 Lake Irene Drive  Newberry Springs, CA 92365
Click photo to enlarge aerial view of proposed SVP site.

The Visit.

    On Saturday, August 7, 2021, I stopped by the residence of William and Schellie Petropoulos in the community of Spring Valley Lake (Victorville).  I had previously left a voicemail on a telephone number I have for them but I never received a response.

    The Petropoulos' have the ownership of the house at 47998 Lake Irene Drive titled under a third-party name, Godisgood, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Mesa, Arizona.

   With the firestorm in Newberry over Liberty Healthcare Corporation's proposed placement of Lawtis Rhoden at the Lake Irene address, I was left wondering if these absentee owners fully understood how they were negatively impacting the community of Newberry.

    Upon arrival at their residence on Pinehurst Trail, I took a photo from the street with my cell phone before approaching the well-groomed 2,720 square foot house.

    My knocks on their front door at 2 P.M. were answered by Schellie Petropoulos.  I introduced myself and stated that I would like to speak with her regarding her property in Newberry Springs.

    She asked what I was doing there and I repeated that I wanted to talk to her about her Newberry house.  She then silently looked very flustered which transitioned into a strange evil-eye stare.  Then, after a few moments without saying anything, she slammed the door shut!

    At that point, I thought, Wow! ...that it was a wasted trip.

    But not to be denied, I waited for about 30-seconds and tapped three times on the door.  After briefly waiting, I started to leave when I heard the door opening behind me.  It was William Petropoulos.

    I again introduced myself and William appeared interested in understanding my purpose for visiting his residence and how I found his address.  He stepped outside the door and we spoke for a few minutes.  I suspect that in filing the title of the Lake Irene Drive address under a different name, that he didn't expect people to know where he lived.

    Our discussion was revealing in that he doesn't have any empathy for the residents of Newberry Springs.  He stated that if the residents didn't like the idea of a Sexually Violent Predator moving into his Newberry Springs house that they could attend the Fullerton court hearing on September 2nd and voice their opposition.

    He spoke with a cocky confidence that Rhoden would be a resident of Newberry soon.


    District Attorney Jason Anderson speaks at the Newberry Springs Town Hall meeting on August 4, 2021, while directly behind him are Congressman Jay Obernolte and Sheriff Shannon D. Dicus.  Barstow mayor Dr. Paul Anthony Courtney in the striped shirt stands in the doorway.

    I described to Mr. Petropoulos about the August 4th meeting in Newberry Springs and the deep concerns of the residents.  I informed him of the sentiments I heard at that meeting.  As I have previously worked for the Southern California insurance industry for many years as an expert in forensic photography, I suggested to him that having insurance would be a good idea if he didn't have any.

    BINGO!  My conversation with William did not proceed much further.  Mrs. Petropoulos, who apparently was hiding and listening behind the front door, reappeared and started belligerently claiming that I had just threatened to burn her house down!

    I informed her that I only suggested the prudence of insurance and that there was no reference to fire, but she irrationally dug her heels in.

    In an argumentative and agitative voice, she began to constantly interfere with my discussion with her husband.  She was anything but cordial.  She would get in my face interjecting that Rhoden had served his sentence and that he should be allowed to live wherever he wanted, that he was entitled to rehabilitation, that I didn't have a right to come to her house, that she wanted me off of her property.

    As she was being assaultive and irrational, I was waiting for her husband to speak up.  Unfortunately, he allowed his wife to dominate.

    As William wasn't interrupting his wife's tirade and as I wasn't being able to talk further with William, I started to depart upon Schellie's insistence.  As I was moving the very short distance to the street, their adult son came from the house to act like his mommy's enforcer.  He had probably been behind the door also.

    As the scene had turned ridiculously crazy, I departed the comedy realizing that nothing was going to be accomplished with these people.  As I drove off, their son was standing in the street with his cell phone video recording my departure.  I waved.  I hope that he has many enjoyable hours of video replay.

    One can go nuts trying to decipher what is going on.  There would seem to be an unholy alliance between the Petropoulos' and Liberty Healthcare Corporation.  People have informed me of some interesting facts found on the Internet about the Petropoulos family, their businesses, and even alleged tens of thousands of dollars collected in PPP stimulus funds.

    What appears dominant is these people are about the money and they don't care about Newberry Springs nor their impact upon innocent children.

Schellie Petropoulos

    Schellie Petropoulos was a registered nurse in California until she allowed her license to expire in February 2020.  I normally find nurses compassionate towards people.  She didn't exhibit the characteristics that I had expected.  (Photo circa 2013.)

    Why purchase a tiny house for reportedly $100,000 cash in remote Newberry Springs if one is not planning to live in it?  I believe that it was a cash transfer because no trust deed appears to have been recorded.

    According to a 2017 Youtube video, Liberty Healthcare states that it costs (taxpayers) approximately $163,000 per year in California for the rent and services for an SVP.  The more recent San Diego report (top video link) indicates far more.

    That is a juicy amount and the SVP rent for the Lake Irene Drive house is probably many times more than the going rate.  Liberty has been paying up to $4,000 a month rental fee for some of the small SVP houses.  If the Petropoulos' are currently receiving that while waiting for Rhoden's arrival, they should have their house purchase funds back in just over two years, then the rent is clear profit.

    As for William and Schellie Petropoulos, my impression is that the placement of a sexual timebomb in our community is solely for their financial windfall.  Their attitude appears to be that any collateral damage to our children is our problem.

    Did Schellie make a Liberty Healthcare connection as a nurse and intentionally purchased the Lake Irene house for the high rate of return that Liberty Healthcare pays to place an SVP tenant?

Picket demonstration.

    It has only been loose talk at this time but there has been some discussion of having a short picketing event in front of the Petropoulos home in Spring Valley Lake to attract Southland TV coverage on Orange County's attempt to use San Bernardino County as a dumping ground for that county's dangerous sexual deviants.

    The Petropoulos residence is about 62-miles from the Newberry Springs Post Office.  Anyone interested in bringing the matter to the Petropoulos doorstep, please announce yourself through the e-mail link below.  If enough people show an interest, a demonstration might take place.

newberrystrong@mail.com

Optimism

    While my visit with William and Schellie Petropoulos didn't achieve the breakthrough that I had hoped for, I did find it beneficial.  I didn't know if these absentee landowners were aware of the uproar that they have raised in Newberry.

    Sometimes, it just takes some willingness to communicate.  In this case, I have learned that the Petropoulo$ apparently do know and that they just don't care.  It appears to be about their profit and the people of Newberry don't matter.

    As my Meandering  thoughts could be wrong, and as this is an important matter, after my visit I snail-mailed William Petropoulos a two-page letter in which I have provided additional information about Rhoden, our community, and an opportunity to come together for a resolution.  While my hope is high, I am not holding my breath.

Discrimination against Newberry Springs.

    It is not justice for Liberty Healthcare, a multi-million dollar for-profit company, to dump their accepted problems on an uninvolved, economically depressed community that has inadequate law enforcement response times, a lack of security street lighting, and poor cellular connectivity.

    Liberty Healthcare's action is highly discriminatory in that Newberry Springs is severely disadvantaged and is lacking in a high density of parks, schools, recreation centers, churches, libraries, and other elements that interfere with the placement of Mr. Rhoden elsewhere.

    The proposed housing site in Newberry is only a stone's throw to three public school bus stops, and a busy Interstate passenger vehicle and truck fueling center that provides eating and restroom facilities.  Seeing this activity close by will be an invigorating stimulus for the way a paraphilia mind works.

    The consideration of the placement of Mr. Rhoden in Newberry Springs is emotionally unsettling and it is already causing fear which is victimizing residents.

    The psychological impact of having Rhoden in Newberry would be like living with an explosive bomb and not knowing when it will go off.  And the chances are that it will go off.  The placement of Rhoden in Newberry is against Social Justice and would clearly represent discrimination by the court!

Has the Law been followed?

    Sexually Violent Predators are supposed to be only released within the county of their crime(s) or conviction(s).  A state weasel clause allows a judge to consider elsewhere only if there is an extraordinary reason.

    In the case of Rhoden, Liberty Healthcare claims that a placement site within the county of crime or conviction cannot be found.  In Rhoden's case, both Orange County and Los Angeles County are eligible jurisdictions for Rhoden's placement.

    Understandably, finding a place for an SVP in compact Orange County would present challenges but what about Los Angeles?  It seems absurd that an Orange County judge would accept Liberty Healthcare's claim that Liberty Healthcare has exhausted all possibilities in both counties!

    What has Liberty Healthcare done in searching L.A. County?  L.A. has a massive High Desert area with hundreds of square miles of open desert.  Can't a site be located to establish a trailer for Mr. Rhoden?  At over $163,000 a year, is Liberty Healthcare scamming the court?

    I would like to see the evidence of Liberty's L.A. County site search.  Is it incompetence and contempt of court on the part of Liberty to claim that a site in the Los Angeles county's desert isn't available?  Or is it incompetence on the court's part in taking Liberty's self-serving word?

    If the court relies upon Liberty Healthcare's word that they have diligently researched L.A. County, and if Rhoden is placed in San Bernardino County, can San Bernardino County sue Liberty for the recovery of damages resulting in Liberty's misrepresentation?

    The alleged misrepresentation has already cost San Bernardino County considerable resources in attempting to block the placement of Rhoden in both Twentynine Palms and Newberry Springs.  More SVPs are probably on the horizon.

Court decision.

    The decision to place Lawtis Rhoden in Newberry Springs is currently set to be heard in the courtroom of Judge Megan Wagner on September 2, 2021, at the Fullerton Courthouse - North Justice Center at 1:45 P.M.  Department N2.

    The address is 1275 N. Berkeley Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832.  This is approximately 125 miles from the Newberry Springs Post Office.

    Be aware that there is a chance that the time or courtroom may be changed or the matter continued.

    At the time of this publication, I believe that the bus transportation on September 2nd to the Fullerton courthouse is being arranged through Victor Valley Transit.  Some residents have already signed up at the Town Hall meeting.  Those who missed the early sign-up will be able to do so soon on a first-come basis.

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