This is the letter that County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty sent to Bonny Doon residents, alerting them to plans to place Michael Cheek, who stalked and raped a woman at gunpoint, in a local residence in Bonny Doon on Wild Iris Lane off Empire Grade. In this interview with Jeff Rosell, DA for Santa Cruz County, and Michael Geluardi, president of the Bonny Doon Elementary School board, we talked about why this placement is ill-advised and how this decision might be reversed.
Background: In 1980, Michael Cheek, a Concord resident, visited Santa Cruz and violently abducted and sexually assaulted a Santa Cruz woman he met at Seabright Beach. After he was convicted, he escaped and violently raped a 15-year-old. He has since served time in various prisons. Regardless of whether the state believes him to be rehabilitated, placing him in Bonny Doon is bad for many of reasons.
First, Cheek’s only connection to Santa Cruz County appears to be that he raped a woman here. He has no family, no connections, or reasons to be placed here.
Second, Cheek will be on an electronic monitor reliant on wifi. Bonny Doon has limited internet access and frequent power outages making effective monitoring unreliable. This makes both monitoring and the ability of people to report criminal behavior limited.
Third, past reports from Cheek’s treatment team indicates that he is unrepentant, noting that his behavior is “intimidating,” that he is “ ‘hostile and demanding,’ and “does not see himself as a sex offender.” They also reported that, “Based on his history, and his behavior at Atascadero State Hospital to date, Mr. Cheek is more likely than not to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior in the future.”
Fourth, the Sheriff has limited coverage and slow response times to Bonny Doon.
Finally, Bonny Doon is a wooded area with many families who just experienced the worst disaster in the County’s history. It is simply the worst place to house a violent sex offender.
Make your voice heard. Tell the state and courts that this location or any place in Santa Cruz County is unacceptable.