After all this, Enrique Pearce stealthily slithered into San Francisco Superior Court the day before Christmas Eve to plead guilty to multiple counts of buying, receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography. His likely punishment?
As a result of the guilty plea, a judge is expected to sentence Pearce to six months in county jail, which may be served on home detention. Additionally, Pearce may also be sentenced to 5 months probation and may have to register as a sex offender for life, prosecutors said.
Toss out what “may” happen and Pearce will likely receive a six-month sentence that could be whittled down further should any “time served” enter the equation. There is no mention of whether his access to the internet will be restricted in any way during or after his sentence. Home detention would take this deeper into the land of farce, since Pearce is friendly with Silicon Valley CEOs who own entire islands as residence; his worst-case home-detention scenerio would be a Silicon Valley mansion or compound better furnished and equipped than most homes or offices.
In other words, all is going according to plan. Pearce was never meant to face any punishment for his abominable actions; he’s been a good soldier for City Hall and Silicon Valley and was always going to be protected as such. City Hall issued a sufficiently shocked response at the time but made no vows for justice as in the Kathryn Steinle murder, and have been silent on the matter ever since. Local media were accomplices in this silence, allowing the story to fade from memory until San Francisco DA George Gascón replied to my own inquiry on Twitter, and suddenly their journalistic synapses began firing again.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for those journalistic synapses to start firing blanks again. People schedule Friday court appearances to keep a low profile and maybe even dodge any mention at all. Scheduling a Friday court appearance two days before Christmas, when you know the media will be more focused on holiday news and travel than court dockets? That’s daring reporters to cover it. And other than the Chronicle and SFist, mum’s been the word. Considering Pearce’s sentencing date is January 25, the third business day of the Trump presidency, mum will be the word on that day, as well, if the hearing isn’t once again postponed altogether. Every possible red flag waving in the wind like semaphore that the fix is in, while San Francisco media stay nestled in their beds, visions of City Hall access dancing in their heads.
This isn’t how any society should work. Even though I’d followed the Pearce case in real time as it happened, and knew all the facts, I still broke down in tears when I read them all at once for the Missing Persons blog post I wrote. Partly because of the horror of Pearce’s actions and how they revealed a child predator growing bolder, and partly because no one appeared to give a damn. A scandal at least on par with Leland Yee or Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and not a soul from local/state/national media could be bothered to call out an obvious cover up in progress. San Francisco residents have been equally complicit, dutifully looking the other way in exchange for their daily bread and circuses. The story absolutely would have faded away altogether if it hadn’t been for a very few people on Twitter keeping the story alive week after week, month after month, ultimately cornering the powers that be into adding another chapter or two to their performance. Tragically, it will remain a performance and child predators like Enrique Pearce, as well as entire Bay Area police departments, will continue to go free and flourish, beneficiaries of a bespoke population and media constructed by City Hall and Silicon Valley to ensure white-male supremacy goes forward unchecked.