BAY POINT (CBS SF) — Contra Costa County prosecutors are hoping court papers filed Wednesday will prevent a man the state deems a “sexually violent predator” from moving into a Bay Point neighborhood next week.
Convicted child molester Charles Christman, 69, was ordered by a state Superior Court judge on Feb. 26 to live in a cottage at 1975 Willow Pass Road in Bay Point upon his release from a state mental hospital, which is expected to occur on or before Tuesday.
Many residents and businesses in the area learned of their potential new neighbor for the first time Wednesday afternoon when sheriff’s deputies canvassing the neighborhood notified them.
But Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts is hopeful that a writ of mandate he filed Wednesday seeking a stay of Christman’s release order will prevent the registered sex offender from moving in.
The writ requests the state appeals court to speedily review the merits of the case and impose an emergency stay on the convict’s release, Butts said.
The filing is based on the location of the sex offender’s potential new home, which is just a quarter-mile from Willow Cove Elementary School.
When using a straight-line measurement, the school is less than 500 feet from Christman’s proposed residence—which would violate California law prohibiting a convicted child sex offender from living within a quarter-mile of a school, the prosecutor said.
Instead, the state court accepted a pedestrian measurement from 1975 Willow Pass Road to the school’s front door, which is slightly over a quarter-mile.
“If you use a pedestrian route, (a sex offender) could literally live next to a school as long as it requires you to walk a quarter-mile to the school,” Butts said. “What if there’s a hole in the fence? There’s no way to apply the statute evenly.”
While the prosecutors said that “things are moving quickly” through the courts, there is no guarantee a stay will be granted.
If the release order is upheld, Christman is expected to move into the Bay Point neighborhood populated by families with young children.
His release comes after decades of prison and state mental hospital time following convictions in the 1980s for sex crimes against children under 14 years old. Christman also had a previous conviction for assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer.
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