SF prosecutors say top political consultant in possession of 5,000 child porn pics

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Graphic details were revealed in a San Francisco courtroom when a former political consultant to the mayor faced child pornography charges.

Enrique Pearce faces six felony counts, including possession and distribution of child pornography.

Prosecutors say Pearce was in possession of nearly 5,000 images of child pornography, including video. Some photos depicted children and infants being sexually assaulted. In some, the children are tied up.

The district attorney argues Pearce is a threat to public safety, because in addition to the pornography, investigators say they found more than 100 images on his cell phone showing boys ages 7 to 12, who do not appear to know they're being photographed.

One boy was on a man's shoulders at a Giants' celebration at City Hall. The district attorney is also concerned that police say Pearce has told another man he'd like to share a boy with a man.

The judge raised Pearce's bail from $250,000 to $400,000.

"I think that based on the totality of the circumstances, the bail that has been set is very appropriate. I believe the judge made the ruling accordingly," said assistant district attorney Alex Bastian.

"He'll be posting the bail and getting out and we'll be fighting these charges and we'll be reviewing and taking a look at the evidence and allegations over the next few weeks," said Eileen Burke, Pearce's attorney. "I don't think he's a safety risk of any sort. He's lived and worked here for over 20 years."

Wednesday's hearing also revealed how the investigation against Pearce was initiated.

Investigators say a man they're calling a witness got an online message from Pearce and the two started communicating about their mutual, sexual interest in boys. Pearce ultimately sent the witness pornographic pictures.

Authorities searched Pearce's home last Thursday and arrested him.

The district attorney's office has asked that the witness not be identified and they're not saying if he's a citizen or law enforcement officer.
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