By Donna Westfall October 31, 2016 –
Last week, I asked both DA, Dale Trigg, and Sheriff Apperson about the procedure for getting an interview with Chris Renner while he was still in the local jail. It was after 5 pm, Tuesday, October 25th, when Commander Bill Stevens called to let me know I could come in the next morning to the jail, show my driver’s license and arrange a time to interview Chris Renner.
Instead, Wednesday morning, October 26th, the gal at the Sheriff’s Department window told me that Chris Renner was no longer at the jail. He was on his way to prison.
Since there was no possibility of an interview, it was time to check out the files at the court house.
That was an eye opener.
Let me preface this by saying I believe in second chances. I have employed many over the years who have served their time in jail or prison because they paid their debt to society. And I thought they had changed enough to become a productive member of society. Sometimes it didn’t work out, but I was always grateful when it did.
I remember one was a handsome man, an American Indian with a drinking problem. He was a true craftsman, an artist when it came to woodwork. That was the first one I picked up out of jail back in the 1970’s. But he couldn’t stay away from alcohol and we had to part ways.
It’s pretty apparent from the files that Chris Renner is an opportunist. While he may not go out and plan to have an affair, if it’s right before his eyes, he will most likely engage. He is admittedly bi-sexual. From an outsider’s perspective, and by all outward appearances, the Renner’s created a home with lots of children and their friends coming and going. After diddling the 5-7 year old victim, the victim’s step-father told Chris Renner, “I know what you did.” This, Chris Renner, states was the impetus for his going to a sex rehab clinic in Texas. However, one daughter, Lindsey Renner, discredits this by commenting, “He went to a sexual rehabilitation center in Texas BEFORE he started sexually abusing this particular victim. This is not an isolated case.”
And therein lies the bottom line. Chris Renner swears this was a one time thing with a child. I’m more apt to believe the daughter and think she deserves a medal for exposing her father’s proclivities I would venture to guess that the family is currently ostracizing Lindsey. But, a lot can change in the next 12 years.
There was an issue regarding whether or not Chris Renner should get 6 or 12 years in prison. While the Del Norte County Probation Department’s analysis on Page 11 of the Presentence Investigation Report states, “Frankly, the defendant’s attached statement provides very little depth with regard to his feelings of remorse, despite Mr. Renner’s attorney’s assertion all questions the probation officer would have posed in the probation interview would be answered within the paragraphs of this one page statement. The statement, instead, suggests the defendant feels he is far more damaged by his own molest as his experience of molestation went, “well beyond what I visited upon John Doe.” The Probation Department would have liked to have gleaned much more from the interview with regard to the defendant’s genuine feelings, but we are, instead, left with this statement which lacks sincerity, at least to this Department.
The victim came from a home that sounded was even more dysfunctional and unstable than the Renner’s. From the Probation Department, “…the victim appears torn between his loyalty to the Renners…. and standing up for what was right….. and being pressured to not attend the trial….. he chose to appear in the hopes his testimony would keep other children safe…..” The victim .”…voiced his request for the least amount of incarceration.”
Finally, this letter from CEO of the 41st District Fairgrounds, Randy Hatfield. I disagree with one statement. I don’t think I would ever feel that my grandchildren would be safe around Chris Renner without supervision.