Placement Site of Man Previously Determined to Be a Sexually Violent Predator Opposed by District Attorney

Press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office:

Humboldt County District Attorney DA BlurIn response to strong public interest in the potential release of a person previously determined to be a sexually violent predator into the Howard Heights area, the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office seeks to share information about the general process and the current specific situation.

In California, a person may be committed to a state hospital if they are determined to be a Sexually Violent Predator, defined as “a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.” The determination requires a conclusion beyond a reasonable doubt.

In this case, Joshua Cooley was determined to be a Sexually Violent Predator in 2010 and committed to Coalinga State Hospital. This commitment occurred after the defendant had served time in prison for sexually assaulting a minor.

In 2013, Cooley petitioned for release to the California conditional release program. The petition was opposed by the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and denied by the Humboldt County Superior Court. That decision was later appealed, and the Court of Appeals remanded the petition for a new hearing; that hearing occurred in December 2016.

District Attorney Maggie Fleming opposed the release at the December 2016 hearing, given that multiple qualified examiners continued to conclude that the person is likely to engage in sexually violent criminal behavior due to his diagnosed mental disorder. However, the Humboldt County Superior Court ruled that Cooley should be released. The search for a suitable placement site has been ongoing since the Court order in 2016. On July 30, 2018, the Department of State Hospitals notified the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office of the proposed placement. The District Attorney’s Office immediately began investigating it; District Attorney Investigator Kyla Baxley has conferred with many concerned community members.

At an upcoming hearing on Thursday, August 23 at 8:30 a.m., in Humboldt County Court Department 4, Judge Feeney will decide whether to authorize the proposed placement. The District Attorney’s Office will strongly oppose the placement, because the District Attorney has concluded it would represent a significant risk to public safety. The District Attorney’s Office will include in its presentation specific information about the placement site and input it has received from the public. The Office invites community members to provide any additional information regarding the specifics of the proposed placement. In addition, Judge Feeney has indicated that members of the public wishing to make a statement at the hearing will be allotted 5-minutes each to do so.

Earlier Chapter: Community Should Write Emails, Attend Public Hearing for ‘Violent Sexual Predator,’ Says Letter to the Editor



  • If this “person” is so dangerous to the public why the Hello Darlin’ are they letting him loose to strike again??? That makes absolutely NO sense whatsoever!!!!!

    • Question the 2016 Humboldt County Superior Court that ruled on his release. Maybe he should live next door to them!

    • have you ever listen to the sheriff speak publicly? after 2 sentences he goes into how AB109 prison alinement has caused all these problems. and how its the democrats that created this mess. the political stance HCSO has taken has tarred their professional judgement in a lame attempt to prove a point, which will never be proven. next year there will be more criminals and less money to deal with them, but somehow the HCSO thinks they are proving a point and blame Jerry Brown, when in fact the entire nation is facing the same problems and facing the same changes if haven’t already made the changes similar to CA. sometimes I wonder if they even think what the end game will be, because whatever it is it will be negative for them. if I was in charge of placing this guy, he would be placed at squires inn of doom at Harris and California. no chomo on the megan’s map at that location so its available.

  • These violent sex offenders need to be locked up for life! Protect little children and women please! Why in the world would you give rapists and kidnappers another chance? This is insane, there is no appropriate placement outside of a prison.

    • I agree Guest, lock them up for life. They cannot be fixed. I would suggest a self sufficient place, where they make their own food and clothing, they have to work to eat, just like Jesus told us. That way they wouldn’t be a burden to us any more than they already have. The judge is part of the whole sanctuary city crap. Hey judge, how about that above garage apartment, couldn’t you put him there? Your so smart, take him to your house, show us how compassionate you are. Judge, Eureka is not a sanctuary city. We have people all over Eureka, doing the 3 clicks, and turning in illegals left and right. The ICE people do not need to notify the local cops if the locals turn them in. They get 2 or more in a bust, we get a hat. A self sufficient secure farm for them, or we have some Tony Soprano justice, that’s permanent too.

      • What makes you think this offender is an undocumented person? Sanctuary City status is not at all germane to this article. Especially since undocumented people commit crimes at a very low % compared to US citizens.

        • “… undocumented people commit crimes at very low % compared to US citizens”

          Can you link to a source that supports this statement?

            • They’re ILLEGAL from the git-go. Invalid “argument.”

            • Cherry picking stats of course does nothing to tell what is really going on. As the Cato study cited in the WaPo and other articles says about its own report :” only a small fraction of all those incarcerated for all crimes committed in the U.S. are in federal prisons. ” ” This limitation is noteworthy because state and local facilities account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population.” That works for and against recording the criminality of illegals, especially those involving State jurisdiction crimes. Many illegals are counted for drug smuggling for example and that is a federal crime. But most violent crimes are not Federal matters and no one records that at all.

              Basically, the stats of incarceration are rarely accurate as many places don’t bother to report at call, many do not report the immigration status if they do, many illegals are just deported rather than incarcerated and are simply never in Federal prisons to be counted at all. Many just go back across the border while many of the crimes they commit are against other illegals who refuse to get involved with the police. Rarely does anyone track them down in their country of origin.

              It may surprise people, especially those who choose to not examine it closely, but the US has a universal crime reporting system which is not functional because it is not mandatory, the States and their subdivisions have widely different definitions of crimes and they simply don’t collect the information to begin with because it costs them man hours to do so. For one example- try to get California to report ilegal status of the people in local jails or state prisons for example. Why that is itself illegal here- the reporting of status that is.

            • Glenn Franco Simmons

              In terms of the general discussion, my view is; all felonious sexual predators deserve life in prison. I include all forms of sexual predation. For “lesser” crimes, the penalties should also be very severe.

              For many years, I have felt that rapists of anyone deserve the death penalty (but with all the Innocence Project investigations that prove “convicted” prisoners are in fact innocent by DNA, I cannot support the death penalty — yet.)

              In terms of the general discussion of immigrants, asylum-seekers, etc., actual immigration is lower than many years in the past. I realize some “American” jobs are lost, but the reason for such immigration is lost in a cacophony of nativist, racist and dishonest propaganda. These views are rooted in basic ignorance of American history.

              (Before you accuse me, I’m patriotic; I love my country. I love where I grew up as a kid in Freshwater. I loved walking the ancient redwood forests. I love all the small towns and cities I’ve visited. I love the people. I love the gardens and museums of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, and the vast cultural, including language, diversity that one would be hard-pressed to find in too many other metro areas in the world. And, I could go on.)

              But, I’m not a nationalist, which means my country, right or wrong. If you want to know who the most famous nationalists in world history were, it’s a rogue’s list that includes the American Bund, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Mussolini, to list a very few. It was a nationalistic (not patriotic) belief in Manifest Destiny that led to the genocide against Native Americans, including the tribes of the North Coast, who still suffer from the genocidal military and cultural wars unrelentingly wage against them.

              (That’s why “Indian Island” matters, and I don’t mean to insult my friends who disagree with me.)

              It is ironic, in the most tragic sense, that newly minted American nativists or American nationalists wonder why there are immigrants, asylum-seekers, workers and, of course, some bad characters, who have flowed across our southern border for decades.

              The United States has interfered (including invasions, assassinations, corporate vigilantism, etc.) in the Americas about 60 times, if my memory serves me, and it may not. Soldiers, in our name, have killed and maimed, leaving vast destruction in their wake. Much like the Iraq War I initially supported, but than realzied my grave mistake and retracted that support in a newspaper editorial.

              And in many Americans’ nativist smugness, they, who claim to be a moral nation, actually separate children from parents (yes, some “parents” weren’t parents, and others who were don’t deserve custody based upon criminal history). Is it worth pointing out that the family separation violates international covenants that the United States happily signed by cynically violates in the cruelest manners?

              Mr. Trump is president, but in his regal hubris that boggles any discerning mind, he has relied on singling out immigrants to form a powerful political cult that shows its ugliness time and again.

              Americans have blamed immigrants before: Chinese, Japanese, Irish, Italians, Greek, Germans, Poles, and a whole host of immigrants from Central and South America.

              Prepare for more becase the repercussions of an immoral, unethical, racist, corporate predatory and otherwise hateful foreign policy, reflected in many Americans’ views of “the other,” will continue to come home to roost for many years until commonsense, regional solutions are found.

              Instead of calling ICE, perhaps show compassion and understand that many “immigrants” are truly asylum-seekers.

              (Sorry this was long. This is an issue that affects me deeply; especially the traumatic stress inflicted on innocent families who were separated.)

              • Yes. Let’s all become what illegal border crossers claim to be trying to escape. Murder, economic disaster, gang violence, etc. After all US “nativists” (what an odd spin word for citizens) you say are no better than anyone else so of course people are willing to break the law just to move to a place just the same as they left. (Sarcasm of course.)

                As human beings Americans are not intrinsically better than others. What we are so very, very fortunate to have had that most other places do not is a country founded a document- the Constitution- and not on kings, oligarchy, ethnic identity, etc. Not repeated attempts to redo failed systems. The law, fought out and defined by that Constitution, that has allowed continuous progress to include more and more people to have rights. Legally defines and enforced rights. In other words, without this long fought out battle over the importance of rights under the Constitution, we would be like others. The law is what protects us all. It can not do so if we disregard the value of that law. Do too much damage to the law and it can not protect you. It becomes what so many other people live under- a continuous dog eat dog fight for power. It is not anywhere near perfect what with so many “humans” trying to pull it down for their own uses. But it is and has been better than the alternatives.

                Grow up. A prettified philosophy of based on what is convenient and sounds nice will not keep us from becoming just like everyone else. Respect for the Constitution and the laws derived from it has done that- in ragged fits and starts- for centuries. You can’t keep tearing down the country and expect it to keep the power to defend you. You can’t use it as your personal tool. It is not all about you. For which benefit you should be deeply aware.

              • GFS, thank you for your exquisitely worded and obviously well thought out comments. Your ideas regarding Sex Crimes & Punishment echo my own almost verbatim. You make some excellent points regarding the immigration issues as well (though im not sure how we got there). And while i dont fully agree i nodded my head through most of them. Contrary to most i really enjoy hearing/reading opinions that counter my own. Having lived in San Diego for a long time as well as having spent a great deal of time in Mexico and Central America i have many close and life long friends from that region and their struggle is my struggle. Anyone that has educsted themselves on the issue as you obviously have, can see through the “Crime” propoganda. In my opinion the real challenge lies in the economics. Wheather i agree completely or not the people of this country and in even greater numbers this state especially have decided through their elected officials to support a welfare state approach wherein we take care of those who cannot or will not take care of themselves. Now it seems a great many are also in support of an open border policy. As i see it, therein lies “the Rub”… How can we facilitate both without bankrupting our future? I ask that in sincerity with zero sarcasm. How can we keep our borders open while continuing to offer the current levels of social services and financial aid to those of us in need without mortgaging our childrens and grandchildrens California/U.S.?

      • Supporter of Trump are you?

        • Anti troll league

          Believing that illegal criminal activity is objectionable might have that effect. Just as having illegal friends and relatives might make people anti Trump. But trolls drag that irrelevancy in anyway.

  • It is imperative that neighbors convey their disapproval. The district attorney opposed supervised release and a judge ordered it, so while I appreciate the DA taking a formal opposition to this, the public needs to make it formally known that it is not wanted.

  • mixed up priorities being so concerned about a pervert

  • Based on public records and online search, the landlord making a deal to house the Violent Sexual Predator in their property on Howard Heights is Aleen Arbaugh, retired teacher at Zane Middle School and now manager of Arbaugh Rentals. Arbaugh and her husband Scott Arbaugh, apparently owner of Humboldt Plumbing, do not live on Howard Heights. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe that they had not read the full case file, including for example that Cooley was found guilty of 7 counts of rape against a 12-year old and that his Traumatic Brain Injury among other factors caused multiple experts to say he was at high risk of recividism.

  • His crime, 7 counts rape against a 12 year old, has a head injury causing increased Recidivism; the proposed location is Howard heights eureka. You know if that’s what he’s convicted of, he probably did worse, terrible.

    At least it’s not near me; hope they keep him locked up away from children and away from all eurekans.

  • Lethal injection will cure his “disease “ once n for all.

  • This is bullshit, bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

    This is dooming some young child to having a soul scaring crime inflicted on her. How can this be accepted?

  • The address is 495 Howard Heights. We can hope that the property owner decides that this is not an appropriate location and rescinds their permission, in addition to community members documenting their opposition.

    • 2.4 miles from Freshwater School and .9 mile from Garfield School.
      Yes. We definitely hope.

    • Minor correction

      I agree, hopefully the landlords realize this is a terrible decision and revoke the offer, and the community should absolutely speak out against this. But the address in question is 499 Howard Hts. There are 3 houses in a row at the end of the street, and those who live at 495 and 497 are great people who don’t deserve to be harassed. They are already dealing with this…

  • This location is very close to rural elementary schools, large acres of wooded properties, large clusters of tiny communities with young families!!! Are you kidding me!!! Rehab is for some, non-violent crimes! Violent crimes such as this in nature, this criminal needs to stay away from the general public for our safety. This order should be resented!

  • It’s pretty sad that various agencies have to shame each other into doing the right thing. The police and Sheriff try to shame the jail, the jail tries to shame the courts, the district attorney tries to shame the courts, the courts try to shame the legislature…

    I see that press release as nothing more than the DA’s way to try to get ahead of this to make of the court do the right thing to avoid being publicly shamed.

  • Here is a picture of the creep..

    • He should be placed on the property of the judge who made this decision. The judge should then assume responsibility for this creature

    • Okay Okay! But I have to say this….I know what TBI does to people. I have a close family member suffering from it. What this guy did is not acceptable. And he may do it again. NOT because he’s a creep- because he has brain damage. I wish we could find a place for him between prison and open community where he can live, produce something to be proud of and have some semblance of a life without endangering any girls or women. I’m shocked at the Humboldt Superior Court and I’m shocked at the landlord for this address. He shouldn’t be set free here. But remember- he’s got TBI= brain damage. Probably doesn’t know how to properly behave and may never learn. Your hatred won’t help the situation. Your scorn directed at him won’t fix his brain. It’s sad all around.

    • This is a young picture of him. Go to the Megan’s Law webpage and key in his first and last name in the search engine to get a more updated pic – he’s older now. Or, his updated picture is also on the John Chiv blog page

  • The address is actually 499 Howard Heights. There are 3 houses at the end of the road. At 495 and 497 are great people very concerned and dealing with this. It’s 499 Howard Heights that Aleen Arbaugh has, under no obligation and of her own free will, decided to make a deal to rent to Violent Sexual Predator Cooley.

    • My view is that this brain damaged, sexually violent pedophile, should be housed by the state until the remainder of his natural life.
      Not only is this ”placement” going to cause chaos in the little community of Freshwater, the folks on Howard Heights will be subjected to undue hardships related to this mental case being inserted into their midst.
      Apparently, they already are.

      Freshwater/Howard Heights cannot, and should not, be expected to function as a ”half-way house” for an individual who dearly needs CONSTANT supervision, support, and a really restrictive environment.
      The state institution for the the criminally insane is well equipped to provide these services to such a person.
      Leave him there. All will benefit.

    • Is there a park near there where children go to play?

  • Is it true that offenders like this are always put back into the area that they did the offence?

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