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Better Off Dead? 

Did Jessica's Law kill a homeless sex offender?

Wednesday, Mar 31 2010

Earlier this month, Nicholas Chaykovsky failed to reregister with the police as a transient sex offender. He had a decent excuse.

He died.

Chaykovsky died on Feb. 18 at age 61. He was featured as "Mr. C" in our Dec. 30 cover story, "Perverting Justice," on how Jessica's Law forces nearly all sex offenders paroled to San Francisco into homelessness, because they are forbidden to live within 200 feet of a park or school.

The San Francisco Medical Examiner declared that Chaykovsky suffered a heart attack stemming from heart disease, and had an infection related to injuries from a suicide attempt 12 years ago.

But Chaykovsky's case managers and acquaintances say it was the constant stress of being homeless that killed him.

"Basically, he wasn't used to the street," said Ron Sanders, his case manager at the Transitions Clinic, a city program for parolees run from the Southeast Health Center. "He had almost three years left living [homeless on parole]; there's no way he would have made it. ... He didn't have any fight in him."

Chaykovsky was arrested in 1998 after making a videotape of a nude, 8-year-old girl, and was eventually convicted of continuous sexual abuse of a child and producing obscene material of a child. After being caught, he attempted suicide twice — he first shot himself in the mouth, which deformed his face, and later drank a glass of antifreeze. He served nine years in state prison before making parole in October.

Last month, the California Supreme Court upheld the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's practice of forcing all San Francisco sex offenders paroled after the passage of Jessica's Law in November 2006 into de facto homelessness, while punting objections about the law's overall constitutionality back to the lower courts.

In a December interview, Chaykovsky said he expected to live about another 15 years, and wanted to follow his parole rules to the letter in order to avoid going back to prison. Asked about whether he was happy he survived his suicide attempts, he said, "I'm kind of in between. I'm hoping things will work out." 

Obviously, they didn't.

Billie Percy, a case manager at the Northern California Service League who knew Chaykovsky, said his remains were cremated by the state. No funeral service was held.

About The Author

Lauren Smiley


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