SHELTON—Fear and anxiousness are building in one local town tonight, as the state prepares to release a man police call a violent sexual predator. It's happening in Shelton, where Gary Cherry lives.
The level three sex offender was convicted of raping two women - but has admitted to raping 18 others.
Melissa Roman live on East E Street, just two locks from Cherry. She says; "I feel he needs to stay on supervision for a longer time if he's a level three and we've been told level threes re-offend."
It is a common reaction here in this Shelton neighborhood as more and more people learn that a closely supervised level three convicted sex offender living here on east e street may be released from supervision, able to roam free.
Roman goes on to say; "I'm a mom of like I said five kids, four of them girls. I had no idea or I wouldn't have moved here."
Since 1979, 50-year old Gary Cherry has been convicted or rape twice, but listen to this; according to court document he's admitted to raping 18 others women although he was never charged or convicted for those.
Cherry is not your average sex offender. He is one of only 300 who are designated a sexually violent predator.
The State of Washington defines a sexually violent predator as "any person who has been convicted of or charged with a crime of sexual violence and who suffers from a mental abnormality or personality disorder which makes the person likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not confined in a secure facility."
Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury says; "I'm deeply concerned for the safety of the citizens in our community." But the state of Washington feels there is no need to worry.
Cherry has lived in the neighborhood under strict supervision since 2004 completing a six step sexual offender treatment program on McNeil Island.
If Cherry is released he will be the first offender treated by the program to be released with the "support" of the state.
In fact his 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."
But in Shelton average people and state leaders are not convinced Cherry is now or ever will be ready to leave supervision.
State Senator Tim Sheldon says; "Monitored by GPS system. He had a chaperone whenever he goes out he's extremely restricted and just to go from that environment to totally cut loose, completely free in our environment here is very scary."
If cherry is released his only requirement will be to continue to register as a sex offender and verify his address every 90 days.
The hearing to determine whether he will be released will be held at 8:30 in the morning on September 1st.