September 23, 2023

SANTA CRUZ — State contracted officers who’ve spent practically 4 years unsuccessfully attempting to find native housing alternatives for a convicted rapist most not too long ago have been limiting themselves to areas at the very least a mile from any faculty or seaside, authorities revealed Tuesday.

“That’s fairly a set-off,” protection legal professional Stephen Prekoski stated of the geographically limiting components.

Prekoski’s consumer, 71-year-old Michael Cheek, was discovered eligible for monitored group launch after serving greater than 4 a long time in jail and therapy. Cheek’s launch falls beneath particular state mandates associated to “sexually violent predators.”

Until the court docket makes a discovering of extraordinary circumstances, a bunch of officers signed to Cheek’s private housing committee are restricted to home-hunting inside Santa Cruz County, thought of Cheek’s county of main residence.

Prekoski recommended that Cheek’s prolonged wait to be positioned in housing since he was deemed eligible for launch is likely to be thought of a ample extraordinary circumstance.

Cheek, talking from a state hospital by way of a court docket Zoom video hyperlink, aired complaints about his lack of housing choices.

”I preserve getting paraded out to a public whipping put up each 30-60 days,” Cheek stated.

Final month, 96 rental properties have been thought of for Cheek, of which 46 have been thought of to adjust to placement statutes, Santa Cruz County Superior Court docket Decide Syda Cogliati shared, studying from a state-provided report. Of these 46 eligible houses, not one of the landlords have been keen to lease to Cheek, officers stated.

A physician from State Hospitals’ contractor Liberty Well being stated that the space from the coast was designed to keep away from triggers to Cheek’s efficient outpatient therapy. Cheek kidnapped and violently raped a lady he met at Seabright State Seashore in 1980.

Upon nearer studying of the state statute, Cheek’s residence would have to be solely 1 / 4 of a mile, relatively than a mile, away from any faculty website, Cogliati and housing committee members agreed throughout Tuesday’s listening to.