A judge dismissed a felony child molestation charge against an after-school child care aide accused of kissing and touching a 6-year-old girl inappropriately on the Horrall Elementary School campus and found after his arrest to reportedly have downloaded child pornography.
After a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Judge Marta Diaz found insufficient evidence to hold Eric Michael Renz, 21, of Millbrae, to answer on the molestation charge but did order him to trial on the child pornography count. Renz returns to court April 24 to enter a Superior Court plea and remains free from custody on $100,000 bail.
Defense attorney Chuck Smith has previously told the Daily Journal his client’s conduct was a case of affection but not molestation.
On Oct. 18, prosecutors said a school custodian looking out a classroom window at the Children’s Annex in San Mateo saw Renz sitting on a bench with his arm around the girl’s shoulder with his hand on her hip. Renz kissed the student twice, according to the custodian who reported the alleged incident to school administrators. He was immediately removed and police contacted.
A police search of Renz’s laptop computer reportedly turned up downloaded child pornography.
Renz denied the kissing and touching, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Smith also said Renz did touch and kiss the child, who was very affectionate with him, but not in a sexual way.
If convicted, Renz faces up to three years in jail.