First McNeil Island releasee in program's 17 year history - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

First McNeil Island releasee in program's 17 year history

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SHELTON, Wash. - Gary Cherry, a man who admits to raping 22 women, will be the first person unconditionally released from the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. McNeil Island is a program run by Washington's Department of Social and Health Services.

According to their websites,  the program "provides a specialized mental health treatment program for civilly committed sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences."

Cherry has been living in a Shelton house with strict rules since his prison release in 2003, but in less than a month he will have no conditions and essentially be set free. DSHS said Cherry has completed all of his treatment, and evaluations show he can no longer be labeled a "sexually violent predator" and must be released without conditions.

Local leaders in Shelton are not happy about Cherry's unconditional release. Many say that he could put everyone's safety at risk. Sheriff Casey Salisbury believes Cherry has only done well living in the house in Shelton because he is under close supervision and must follow 48 conditions of release including GPS monitoring, a chaperone for all trips and periodic polygraph tests.

Cherry will be the first person in the 17-year history of the Special Commitment Center to graduate with the full support of DSHS.  His treatment has cost taxpayers more than $1.2 million. When he is released, he'll need to register as a level-three sex offender, which means every 90 days he'll have to notify police of where he is living.

Convicted Spokane rapist Kevin Coe was civilly committed to McNeil Island back in October. He remains on the premises.
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