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Convicted child molester set to be released near Turlock
Kevin Gray
Kevin Gray

In the next few weeks, convicted sex offender Kevin Scott Gray is slated to be released to a home in Stanislaus County, west of Turlock’s city limits.

Gray, 72, has been incarcerated since his conviction in 1993 for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14. 

A repeat offender, Gray was convicted in three separate cases — in Stanislaus and Los Angeles counties — dating back to 1974. In 2007, he was committed to the California Department of State Hospitals in Coalinga.

Prosecutors will be back in court July 1 in an effort to revoke Gray’s release. Gray initially was set to be released into nearby Ballico earlier this year before a Stanislaus County judge reversed her decision. As it stands, Gray is slated to be released in the coming weeks, and that does not sit well with local law enforcement figures.

“When you think about the amount of work we put into going after these predators, and then somebody that’s already convicted of this level of crimes being dumped on our streets … it’s crazy,” said Turlock Police Chief Jason Hedden. “You’re just asking for something terrible to happen. But we’re definitely going to weigh in and share our concerns. I will have our sex-crimes detectives involved in this evaluation.”

Sheriff Jeff Dirkse echoed Hedden’s sentiments.

“I submitted a letter of opposition to the court, probably at least a year ago, stating that Gray should not be released,” said Dirkse. “I believe he has a high propensity for reoffending. This is the kind of person that needs to be locked up for the rest of their life. Period.”

There still has to be a site visit conducted by various stakeholders, and then there will be an opportunity for the public to weigh in, at a time and date to be determined, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Wendell Emerson.

Harry Goldberg, a consulting psychologist for the state, reported in February of 2020 that Gray was likely to re-engage in sexually violent behavior, court documents show.

Also in 2020, Gray was found to be in possession of a flash drive that had approximately 1,000 deleted — and later recovered — images of children posed erotically.

In May of 2022, Goldberg reaffirmed his previous diagnosis. And in March of this year Goldberg once more reported that Gray was likely to reoffend.

“(Respondent’s) mental condition HAS NOT yet so changed such that he no longer meets the statutory definition of a sexually violent predator. He remains a danger to the health and safety of others in that he is likely to engage in future predatory sexually violent criminal behavior,” Goldberg said, according to court documents.

California law stipulates that sexually violent predators must be released back into the county where they lived when their crimes were committed, unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise.

In 2020, Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Carrie M. Stephens ruled that extraordinary circumstances did exist and Gray could be released outside of Stanislaus County. In January 2024, Stephens ruled that Gray could be placed in Ballico — a rural Merced County community just outside of Turlock — despite living in Stanislaus County when he was convicted. However, days before Gray’s scheduled Feb. 20 release, Stephens reversed her decision.

Now it appears likely the that Gray and another sexual predator — 61-year-old Timothy Weathers — will be released into the same residence west of Turlock.

State Sen. Marie Alvarado-Gil (D-Jackson) spoke against Gray’s potential release in Merced County earlier this year. 

“I am alarmed and disgusted by the potential release of sexually violent predator Kevin Gray into Stanislaus County,” said Alvarado-Gil said in a statement to the Journal. “With his lengthy history of violent sexual offenses, Gray should never have been considered for release into any community. … I remain committed to protecting our communities from individuals who pose a clear and present danger to public safety.”