◼ Eureka man found guilty of 'lewd' acts with a child
The jury in a 2007 child molestation case found a Eureka man guilty on one count Thursday, acquitted him on another and was unable to reach a verdict on a third.
Eric Darrell Schwenk, 44, was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts against a minor, reflecting three different incidents that occurred in 2002, said Deputy District Attorney Elan Firpo. The victim was 10 years old when the molestation occurred, but did not come forward until 2007.
The jury vote on the remaining count was lopsided: Nine guilty, three not guilty.
Firpo said she is maintaining the right to retry Schwenk on the remaining count and he will not be sentenced until those proceedings are completed.
”(The victim's family) wanted all three counts, and I wanted all three counts too,” she said. “But he's off the streets.”
With the one guilty verdict, Schwenk could face 16 to 26 years in prison, she said. His next court date is Oct. 20.
Defense attorney Marek Reabis did not return Times-Standard calls by deadline.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office both participated in the investigation, using a pretext call to Schwenk, Firpo said.
During the call, the victim called Schwenk as if to confront him, while the conversation was being recorded by police. The defendant was unaware he was being recorded during the conversation and Schwenk reportedly admitted to the acts, according to court documents.
Schwenk has been a registered sex offender since 1995 for a conviction on molesting two 10-year-old girls in Stanislaus County.