SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — A Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that convicted sexual predator Michael Cheek should be placed in a home in rural Boony Doon, a decision that has sparked an immediate and strong objection from local authorities and residents.

Judge Syda Cogliati quickly issued a stay to his order, allowing the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office time to file an appeal with the Sixth District Court of Appeal.

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But local leaders, including Santa Cruz Sheriff Jim Hart, were outraged by the placement decision.

“I am very disappointed in the decision that was handed down today by Judge Cogliati allowing Michael Cheek, a convicted violent sexual predator, to live in a home in Bonny Doon,” Hart said in a news release. “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,” Hart continued. “I, along with many community members, are outraged by this decision. This is causing fear among our residents and a lack of confidence in our local judicial system. The Sheriff’s Office will do everything we can to keep the Bonny Doon community safe from this
predator.”

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Cheek was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the 1980 kidnap and rape of a 21-year-old-woman at Seabright Beach.

In 1981, while being transferred for an automobile theft-related court hearing in Contra Costa County, Cheek escaped and raped a 15-year-old girl in Lake County before being recaptured and later convicted of the second crime.

State-contracted Liberty Healthcare Corp. proposed that Cheek — who has served his 20-year sentence — be housed in a Bonny Doon rental unit off Empire Grade.

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But locals have complain that the location was not far from a small private school and a bus stop.