Skip to Content

DA: Department of State Hospitals requesting more time to find home for convicted sex offender

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION-TV) -- UPDATE ON MAY 13, 2024 AT 1:41 P.M.- The California Department of State Hospitals has requested more time to find a home for a convicted sex offender.

Michael Cheek who was convicted by in two separate rape and kidnapping cases in the 1980's made a remote court appearance on May 8 as the Department of State Hospitals and Liberty Health Care are trying to find a permanent location for Cheek to live in.

During the hearing, a representative from the Department of State Hospitals found a new site for housing but asked Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge Nancy De La Pena that the needed more time.

Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Alex Byers confirmed that the District Attorney's Office requested an investigation on where this undisclosed site would be.

Byers said that Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office Deputies located a school near the new proposed placement location.

Byers said that the school was not identified by the Department of State Hospitals or Liberty Health Care during their housing investigation.

The exact location of where Cheek could be placed has been ordered sealed by the court per Byers.

The California Department of State Hospitals and Liberty Health Care are expected to report back to the court on June 14.

In 2023, a Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge denied Cheek a "transient release" program that would have placed him in a RV in unincorporated Santa Cruz County.

READ MORE: Bonny Doon neighborhood voice concern about violent sex offender possibly moving in

In July 2021, the supervision contractor found a place for Cheek in Bonny Doon but in August of that year, a private school opened near the proposed home.

Transient release denied for violent sexual predator

A Santa Cruz County judge has denied a convicted sex offender a transient release during a court hearing this week.

There were plans to place 71-year-old Michael Cheek on a "transient release" program that could have placed him in an RV in an unincorporated part of Santa Cruz County.

The judge also called for a housing committee to meet before August 31 to discuss the next steps or other housing options.

The committee includes Liberty Health Care--which is in charge of finding Cheek a place to live--law enforcement agencies and the District Attorney's Office.

A report on that information will take place at Cheek's next hearing on September 12.

Sexually violent predator potentially to be housed in RV in Santa Cruz County: DA

This week, a committee meeting was held to discuss plans to move a violent sex offender, identified as Michael Cheek, to Santa Cruz County. People living in the area are calling on the Santa Cruz County Court to prevent him from living in any part of the county.

“Some of the participants that came to the meeting last night expressed concerns about RVs, said Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Alex Byers.

Read more: Sexually violent predator will not move to Bonny Doon

That RV proposal would place Cheek in an RV housed somewhere in Santa Cruz County. A final location has yet to be selected, but one option being explored is the Santa Cruz Police Department parking lot.

“It's interesting to me that they do you have a guy who committed a couple of crimes, and then now he's coming out, they're gonna give him a place to live, where a lot of people don't get a place to live," said Santa Cruz resident Thomas Kempter.

In a previous July 11 interview, the attorney for Michael Cheek tells KION it’s taken far too long for his client to be released.

“The corporation that is tasked with his release is utterly incompetent, and unable to do the task they are tasked with in the space of four years," said Cheek's attorney Stephen Prekoski.

Prekoski is currently pushing for what’s called a “transient release” in which cheek would not be in a set location.

“The nature of this transient release, which is being demanded by cheeks attorney and generally opposed by almost everyone involved, doesn't have a lot of framework to it," said Byers.

The DA’s office said they are continuing to work with various agencies about that kind of release and its impacts. A particular location has not been identified at this point, just that it will be located somewhere in Santa Cruz County.

The DA’s office also said they are set to be in court again on Cheek's potential release on Aug. 8 to determine the next steps.

Cheek was convicted of kidnapping, rape, and forcible oral copulation in 1980 when he abducted a woman from Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz. 

Officers said Cheek drove the 21-year-old woman to a remote location and raped her at gunpoint. He was then sentenced to 20 years in prison, but he escaped custody and raped a 15-year-old girl in 1981 in Lake County. 

The Santa Cruz District Attorney's Office said they feel it is their duty to find Creek a suitable home since they filed the motion to label him a sexually violent predator in 1997.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Austin Castro

Reporter for KION News Channel 46.

Author Profile Photo

Derrick Ow

Assignment Editor for KION News Channel 5/46


KION 46 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content