SF politico faces child porn charges
by Seth Hemmelgarn
A well-known San Francisco political consultant who has supported San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other local elected officials is facing charges related to child porn.
Juan Enrique Pearce, 41, who at least one acquaintance says is gay, pleaded not guilty in May to two felony counts of distribution of child pornography, and single counts of possession of child pornography, possession of over 600 images depicting children "engaged in or simulating sexual conduct" – including at least 10 images showing children younger than 12, possession of sadomasochistic child or youth pornography, and receiving or buying stolen property.
On Friday, June 12, Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman ordered Pearce, who's out of custody on $400,000 bail, not to have contact with or photograph anyone under 18. The next court date in the case is August 25.
Bill Barnes, the gay man who's running Lee's re-election campaign but spoke to the Bay Area Reporter only as a community member, said he didn't know Pearce "that well," but the two men have been involved in city politics for years, and Pearce once told him that he's gay. Barnes didn't seem to recall exactly when that was.
Outside court last week, Pearce wouldn't speak to the B.A.R. and walked away as a reporter asked if he's gay.
Asked whether Pearce is gay, Edwin Prather, his attorney, said, "I don't know whether that's relevant."
According to documents filed in May by Assistant District Attorney Alexis Fasteau, in February, a man received messages through two Yahoo Messenger accounts with the user name "Redentice," which authorities eventually determined was Pearce.
Pearce and the other man exchanged messages "about their sexual preferences and fantasies," the records say. Pearce asked if the man was "looking to be friends with other 'pervs,'" and told him that he was "interested and turned on by" boys ages 8 to 12, "and that he fantasizes about them a couple times a week."
He also allegedly told the man that "sharing a boy with another man is really hot to [him]," asked whether the other man was "looking to explore 8-12," and if he had photos to share.
When the man said, "No," Pearce offered to send him child porn and asked him to "take a picture of his dick next to the photos and send it back" to him, the documents say.
Pearce then allegedly sent two pictures. One showed "a clearly prepubescent boy with his legs spread apart exposing his nude penis and testicles," according to the records. The other photo depicted two boys who appeared to be 8 to 12. One lay naked on a bed "with his legs spread apart exposing his genitals." The second boy, who was clothed, fondled the first boy's penis with his hand "while looking at the camera."
Inspectors executed a search warrant on Pearce's home in May and found 102 image files and 96 video files of suspected child pornography on one of Pearce's computers.
Several images showed "sadomasochism and particularly young victims," according to court documents, which offer graphic descriptions.
The videos also allegedly contained sadomasochistic acts on young boys. One showed a boy aged 3 to 5 with his "face down bent over a flat surface exposing his buttocks" and a strap "wrapped over the back of his neck," holding him down.
Inspectors also allegedly found more than 100 photos of young boys on Pearce's iPhone who appeared "unaware" that he was taking their photos. In court last week, Prather said the photos had been taken for work purposes.
A stolen city parking meter was also found at Pearce's home, according to the records.
Pearce has also pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor drunk driving counts and a speeding count from a November 2013 incident. As of mid-May, that case was pending.
According to court records, police stopped Pearce after he allegedly sped through 7th and Townsend streets at 50 to 60 miles per hour in his Porsche. His blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. Pearce made a statement included in court documents that he'd hung out with two friends in the Castro that night.
Court documents say Pearce changed his name from John Henry Pearce in 2003. Records also list his name as Enrique J. Pearce and J. Enrique Pearce.