Level 3 convicted sex offender Gary Cherry, once considered a sexually violent predator, is now no longer subject to the strict supervision and monitoring under which he has lived his life since he left McNeil Island in 2003.
He’s literally a free man and his neighbors in Shelton don’t like it at all.
People living in one Shelton neighborhood have feared Cherry’s release from house supervision for a long time.
He was supposed to get off his home supervision in 2009 but a judge said no. He appealed, and Tuesday that ruling was overturned and Cherry can now come and go as he pleases.
That worries six women living in the Oxford House for women just a block and a half away.
"I don’t like being outside already after dark, but it just makes it worse knowing that somebody like that is pretty close to being here and is being released from all of his supervision. That’s pretty scary,” Oxford House resident Brittney Smith said.
Cherry, 53, has been convicted of rape twice -- first in 1979, and again in 1990.
State Sen. Tim Sheldon said that since Cherry got out of prison, "He’s monitored by GPS. He’s had a chaperone when he goes out. He’s extremely restricted -- and to go from that environment to totally cut loose, completely free in our environment here is very scary.”
Cherry has lived in Shelton under strict supervision since 2004 and has completed a six-step sexual offender treatment program.
One therapist said, “Cherry has been able to consistently demonstrate an ability to meet all of the goals and expectations of the sexual offender treatment program.”
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office notified neighbors Wednesday about the end of Cherry’s supervision.
Women in the Oxford House say they are feeling a lot less safe than they did a day before.
"Yes, I guess all I can do is warn the girls and our children, and it’s going to kind of suck, though, because of how scary it’s going to be to go outside knowing that he’s right down the road from us,” Oxford House resident Minday Whinery said."The court has made its decision and we’re going to abide by that decision,” said Mason County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dean Byrd. “He’s a Level 3 sex offender and we’re going treat him like any other Level 3 sex offender. That means we will verify his address once a quarter and make random visits from time to time.”
Cherry's son said Wednesday night that his father wants to be left alone to live his life.