Editorial

New Hampshire Conducts Manhunt For Escaped Transgender Felon

Christian Datoc Audience Development Manager
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Authorities are currently conducting a manhunt for Shaun Cook, a 41-year-old convicted transgender felon who “failed to return” to a transitional housing unit in late November.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections, Cook, who answers to “Summer” and “Selena Mariee,” was placed on “escape” status Wednesday, November 27, 2019 after failing to return to the minimum-security North End Transitional Housing Unit in Concord, New Hampshire.

Cook has been incarcerated several times, with the most recent arrest coming in 2014 for multiple charges including felony receiving stolen property, felony reckless conduct, and felony parole violation. Cook reportedly did not start identifying as a woman until 2016, at which time a gender identity evaluation was conducted by gender specialist Dr. Anne Boedecker, in accordance with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections’ policy on transgender inmates.

Though Cook claimed to have first considered identifying as a woman at the age of 19, Boedecker’s evaluation concluded Cook’s behavior was not typical of true gender dysphoria. (RELATED: Illinois School District Rules Transgender Students Have Unrestricted Access To Bathrooms)

“His statements are at times contradictory, and inconsistent with his behavior,” the evaluation reads. “He asks officers to treat him as a woman, but does not want to be seen as transgender by inmates in the general population.”

“His behavior is more suggestive of the need to challenge authority, find excuses for his behavior, and seek a protected status as a woman.”

It should be noted that Boedecker’s evaluation used he/him pronouns when referring to Cook.

NHDOC Deputy Director of Forensic Services Heidi Guinen stated that once an inmate “comes to us and says this is going on, we’re going to talk about it,” noting that policy states NHDOC, “treat people” once they enter the protocol, regardless of the existence of a full gender dysphoria diagnosis.

“Only they know if they’re transgender. We don’t determine that,” she explained. “You really have to believe that people are the true storytellers of themselves.”

“Unfortunately, we have some very sick people who try to use that as a bargaining tool and who truly don’t have any gender dysphoria.”

Cook has more than 70 records filed in New Hampshire courts, and as of 2017, had filed a habeas corpus petition that requested placement at a different correctional institution of his choice.