The Del Norte County District Attorney’s Office announced today that Christopher James Renner (58) of Crescent City, pleaded guilty this morning to continuous sexual abuse upon a child under fourteen and admitted three special allegations for having substantial sexual conduct with the child, for use of force and that the statute of limitations for the crimes had not expired. Renner was set to go to trial by jury today, September 19 2016.
The charges stem from a series of sexual acts that occurred in Renner’s home between 1997 and 1999 involving a juvenile male who was between five and seven years old at the time. Renner had engaged in substantial sexual conduct with the victim on three or more occasions spanning a minimum of three months. Renner had fondled the child’s genitals several times and on one occasion, Renner had forced the child’s hand onto his genitals. Renner had recurring access to the child during that period of time.
“Justice was served today in that Mr. Renner admitted to his crimes and the victim was fully vindicated,” said Del Norte District Attorney Dale P. Trigg who personally handled all aspects of the case for the prosecution. “This young man lived with these crimes for many years before coming forward to report what had happened to him. Now there is no question that what he said happened did in fact happen,” said Trigg. “The young man showed a ton of courage to come forward and tell the truth. He was very pleased with the plea this morning and was relieved to avoid trial. Now, the healing can begin for this brave young man,” said Trigg.
Renner was arrested in Mendocino County on the charges on February 22, 2016 and released the next day after posting $250,000 bail. Upon entry of the plea, District Attorney Trigg requested that Renner be remanded into custody since Renner faces 85% of up to twelve years in state prison and is not eligible for probation. Although Trigg had previously secured Renner’s passport as a condition of his bail, Trigg argued that Renner is necessarily a flight risk given his mandatory state prison sentence. But the Honorable Philp Schafer denied that request and continued Renner on bail until sentencing on October 20, 2016.
The District Attorney wishes to thank District Attorney Chief Investigator AC Field and former investigator Melanie Barry, the United States Marshall Service, Ukiah Police Department and Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Matthew Kendall for their work in this case. With the help of investigators Field and Barry, the United States Marshall Service assisted in tracking Renner as he was traveling and were able to alert Mendocino County authorities of his presence in Ukiah. He was arrested without incident by the Ukiah Police Department and the Del Norte DA’s Office was advised of the arrest. Sgt. Kendall was briefed on the status of the investigation by investigators Field and Barry who were five hours away at the time of Renner’s arrest. Sgt. Kendall interviewed Renner before he posted bail. “Through collaborative efforts and investigative acumen, my investigators and our friends in Mendocino County were able to gather evidence that substantially corroborated the victim’s allegations in a timely manner leading to today’s result. We were holding all of the cards in this case. Renner finally accepted that this morning when jurors started showing up,” said Trigg.