Press Release

Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil Voices Major Concerns Over Impending Release of Sexually Violent Predator into Merced County

BALLICO (Merced County) -- Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson) spoke at a press conference held Monday by Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke, to express her deep reservations and strong objection to the imminent release of 72-year-old Kevin Gray, a sexually violent predator (SVP), into Merced County.

The release, authorized by a Judge and scheduled for February 20th, has raised serious questions about adherence to the guidelines established in SB 1034, effective January 1, 2023. SB 1034 strengthens the process for the release of sexually violent predators and requires community stakeholders and local law enforcement to meet to provide assistance and consultation on the housing placement after a court has determined the SVP can be safely released back into the community with intensive supervision.

SB 1034 explicitly states a sexually violent predator cannot be housed in any county other than their county of domicile unless the Judge petitions "extraordinary circumstances" for not finding a suitable residence in the person’s county of origin. The decision in this case to release Mr. Gray into Merced County comes after the California Department of State Hospitals (DSH) spent several years searching for a suitable home in Stanislaus County – Merced County public safety officials state they were not noticed of any housing search related to Mr. Gray until December 2023. Mr. Gray is not from Merced County, and should not be released into that community unless the DSH can prove it has followed every step outlined in SB 1034.

Since being elected to office in 2022, Senator Alvarado-Gil has successfully argued to protect four other counties in her district from becoming dumping grounds for sexually violent offenders. The process by which these decisions are being made by the DSH is especially concerning. In Placer County, the district attorney and sheriff have taken an aggressive stance to ensure the DSH follows SB 1034. This vigilance has resulted in a stalled case, highlighting the importance of adherence to established protocols.

Senator Alvarado-Gil asserted, "The safety and well-being of our community members are non-negotiable priorities. We will not allow the release of sexually violent predators without rigorous adherence to the law."

The Senator is working with her public safety partners and like-minded colleagues in Sacramento to explore avenues for strengthening legislation to close any loopholes that can jeopardize public safety regarding any impending release of a sexually violent predator. 

“Let me be clear that I, nor my partners in Senate District 4 and the Legislature, will tolerate any compromises to community safety. I do not accept this latest ruling and will press to have this case thoroughly examined and take direct action to close the loopholes and shut the front door on the release of ANY sexually violent predators in my district,” the Senator concluded.


Senator Alvarado-Gil represents the 4th Senate District including the Counties of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne.