Judge rules convicted rapist to live in Santa Cruz mountains

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A judge agreed on putting a sexually violent predator at Bonny Doon on Monday, leaving street residents present at the Santa Cruz County courthouse crying. 

Michael Cheek, a 69-year-old condemned rapist from Concord, was allowed by Judge Syda Cogliati’s ruling to transfer to a house located at 310 Wild Iris Lane, KRON4 reported.

The man has faced several rape convictions in the 1980s – from Contra Costa County and Santa Cruz County. He had a history of escaping custody and raped a minor he threatened with a gun.

Several objections were raised against the judge’s decision, including those from the county sheriff, district attorney, as well as supervisors.

Cogliati’s ruling has “outraged” Sheriff Jim Hart who said: “I am very disappointed in the decision that was handed down today. This location is in a remote region of our county where response times are delayed, and cellular service is poor. Cheek’s only connection to our county is that he committed a vicious sexual assault in Santa Cruz. He has never lived here, nor does he have any other community ties. This is causing fear among our residents and a lack of confidence in our local judicial system.”

Michael Thomas Cheek, convicted sexual predator

Many children and girls in their teenage years reside on Wild Iris Lane.

“He is going to be surrounded by people that look like his victims,” Assistant District Attorney Alex Byers told Cogliati. “Mr. Cheek is a career sex criminal. He kidnaps children. He has a mental illness that predisposes him to commit sexually violent offenses,” the district attorney warned.

The judge’s decision left Joe Brennan without any choice but to relocate.

“My daughter would have to walk past the driveway every day to go to and from school. Alone. In the woods,” he said. “To put this guy here at the state’s expense, and to hell with everyone else who lives nearby, it’s ridiculous and unfair.”

Putting Cheek in the Santa Cruz mountains is “totally inappropriate”, according to County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty.

An appeal is being planned to be filed by the district attorney with the Sixth District Court.