A convicted rapist will no longer be moving to a home in the Emerald Hills neighborhood after the property’s owner withdrew the offer to rent their home to him in the wake of community opposition, according to the Redwood City Police Department
The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and RCPD recently began warning neighbors about a tentative plan ordered by the Santa Cruz County Superior Court to relocate Michael Thomas Cheek, 69, who has been incarcerated since rape convictions in both Santa Cruz and Lake counties in the early 1980s and was legally deemed a violent sexual predator, to a home in the 800 block of Hillcrest Drive in unincorporated Redwood City.
Today, authorities announced that plan is no longer going to happen, as the owner of that property has removed their home from consideration of “housing any patients who are in the State of California’s Conditional Release Program for Sexually Violent Predators.” Therefore, a public hearing on the relocation scheduled for March 1 at Santa Cruz County Superior Court has been cancelled.
Authorities credited staunch opposition from community members for helping to keep Cheek from relocating to Emerald Hills. A social media page called “Keep Michael Thomas Cheek Out of Redwood City” included a post identifying and lambasting the homeowner who had accepted the rental.
Cheek was convicted in Santa Cruz County in 1980 of kidnapping, rape and oral copulation of a 21-year-old woman and sentenced to 20 years in state prison. The following year in 1981, when he was sent to Contra Costa County for probation violation proceedings relating to an earlier offense, Cheek escaped from custody and committed a rape in Lake County of a 15-year-old using a firearm, according to court documents.
In 1997, when his prison term was nearing its end, Cheek was legally determined to be a “sexually violent predator,” which committed him to the Department of State Hospitals in Coalinga for treatment. In October 2019, Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge ordered Cheek’s conditional release “to begin outpatient treatment and supervision as the final phase of the relapse prevention program administered by the Department of State Hospitals in Coalinga.”
“The court has found reason to place Mr. Cheek outside the county in which the crimes were committed and/or the county in which he had his primary residence,” the sheriff’s office said.
Photos courtesy of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office