For the first time, a man deemed a sexually violent predator by the state may be released.
The Special Commitment Center for sex offenders on McNeil Island houses about 300 men. In 18 years, none have been released.
Gary E. Cherry, 50, could go home. Three times convicted of rape, the Shelton man will be released “without restriction if a Mason County Superior Court hearing goes his way,” said Dean Byrd, Mason County chief deputy. His petition for release will be held at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 1 before Mason County Superior Court Judge Amber Finlay.
Mason County Commissioner and state senator Tim Sheldon is none too pleased with such a release. Here’s Sheldon’s full statement:
“Today I’m calling on Gov. Gregoire to intervene in the case of Gary Cherry. After being convicted of rape in three separate cases, he admitted to raping 18 other women, and is now under some of the strictest supervision the state can place on someone.
“Now the state says that Cherry has completed his treatment, and they’re planning to release him unconditionally – no GPS monitoring, no chaperone when outside his home, no polygraphs, no phone logs.
“This guy can’t even be trusted to use to a public restroom by himself, and now we’re going to turn a blind eye to him? It’s unthinkable, and a direct threat to public safety.
“We cringe when we see in the paper or get notices at our doors when any sex offender moves into our neighborhoods. But now we’re going to cut loose a convicted rapist without any monitoring whatsoever.
“Gov. Gregoire needs to intervene and delay this unconditional release so that we can take time to place proper safeguards on his release. It will jeopardize public safety to go from the most extensive offender monitoring to absolutely zero monitoring. It just doesn’t make sense.
“We need to continue some level of monitoring, not just turn this violent rapist loose. We need intervention before he is let loose and is able to find another victim.”