The wheels of justice grind slowly, assuming that they do indeed grind. That, at least, appears to be true in the case of a former high-profile San Francisco politico who was arrested on child pornography allegations in May of 2015.
You might recall the tale: Enrique Pearce, the political consultant behind campaigns like Jane Kim's for District 6 Supervisor and Ed Lee's first mayoral push was arrested on May 7, 2015, over the alleged possession of over 600 images of minors engaging in sexual acts.
According to the San Francisco Police Department, police searched Pearce's home at McAllister Street near Leavenworth Street after an unnamed tipster started SFPD's Sex Crimes Unit on a child porn investigation focused on Pearce. The images included many of children "involving sexual sadism or sexual masochism," a police spokesperson said. Pearce also allegedly had a stolen parking meter (?!?) in his home, police said.
Less than 24 hours following his arrest, Pearce, who at the time ran both the Pearce Law Offices and the Left Coast Communications consultancy, was out on $215,000 bail.
That bail amount was increased to $400,000 following a hearing days later during which prosecutors said that Pearce had 4,902 images and videos of child pornography across two silver Apple laptops and 102 pictures and 96 videos (stored across two of Pearce's laptops and his phone) of boys (ages estimated at between 6 months and 12 years), some of them bound, as they are sodomized by adult males.
But the finding that likely sealed Pearce's bail increase was this: 115 cell phone photos of 11 different fully clothed boys aged 8-12, all shot across SF apparently without the kids' knowledge, including at least one shot on the steps of City Hall.
These seeemingly clandestine videos allegedly shot by Pearce were, Assistant District Attorney Alexis Feigen Fasteau argued at the time, indications that Pearce "was going beyond just looking at images and may have been potentially seeking a victim" and that he represented a significant enough public safety concern that his bail should be increased. The judge agreed, and Pearce was cuffed on the spot and was briefly returned to SF County jail until he supplied the additional bail amount.
And that's all we've heard of the case since then, at least, until Wednesday night, when the Ex reported that Pearce's scheduled "status hearing" regarding the six felony counts (including possession of sadomasochistic child or youth pornography, possession and distribution of child pornography and possession of stolen property) to which he has plead not guilty would be postponed until mid October, which will make it over a year and a half since he was first freed on bail.
A call to Pearce's attorney, Eileen Burke, was not returned at publication time. But back in May 2015, she said that “Of course, we are going to fight [the allegations] in the courtroom, not the media" describing Pearce's arrest as "incredibly unfair."
"I don't think he's a safety risk of any sort," Burke said at the time of Pearce's initial release. "He's lived and worked here for over 20 years."
Pearce's new court date, the Ex reports, is October 19 at 1:30 p.m. It remains unclear when, assuming prosecutors move forward, a trial in the case might be expected.
Previously: SF Political Consultant Enrique Pearce Jailed On Child Porn Charges
SF Politico Accused Of Child Porn Possession Out On Bail, Allegedly Also Had Stolen Parking Meter
Wednesday Court Appearance Reveals Disturbing Details In SF Politco's Child Porn Case