San Mateo County judge reduces conviction of man found with child porn

REDWOOD CITY (KRON) — A San Mateo County judge has decided to reduce the sentence of a man who was found guilty of having child pornography.

On March 9, former after-school program employee 22-year-old Eric Michael Renz was found guilty of having child pornography.

Friday, Judge Lisa Novak granted the defense’s motion to reduce the conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. With that came a change in sentence; with three years court probation conditioned on one day in county jail, which Renz has already served.

In addition to that punishment, Renz must register as a sex offender and pay a $325 fine. Furthermore, his computer can be seized and searched by the police at any time.

“This was an utterly hysterical overreaction by the Police Department and the district attorney’s office. They were dead wrong here and thank goodness we had a judge who saw it for what it is,” defense attorney Charles Smith said. “The judge got it right.”

Renz had previously worked as an after-school child care assistant at Albion H. Horrall Elementary School, located at 949 Ocean View Ave. in San Mateo.

Prosecutors said on October 18, 2013, a school custodian witnessed Renz sitting on a bench, kissing a 6-year old female student on the lips twice, with his arm around her shoulder and his hand on her hip. The custodian reported the incident to school administrators, who immediately called police.

Renz denied to police he kissed the female student.

When police seized his laptop, a forensic search revealed downloaded child pornography, prosecutors said.

After a three-day court trial, Judge Lisa Novak decided that evidence he kissed the 6-year-old was insufficient. The court had found Renz guilty of possessing child pornography, but Friday the judge reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor.

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