Orange County's David Andrew Lewis enjoys a bizarre, special privilege few child pornography offenders ever get: the right to near absolute secrecy from public knowledge about his crimes.
Mass murders, rapists, burglars, organized crime bosses, arsonists, vandals, thieves, polluters, kidnappers, drug smugglers and swindlers all regularly have their cases processed in near full public view--especially details of the specific, criminal allegations.
That practice normally even holds true for individuals who violate child pornography laws, except--thanks to U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney--oddly not in Lewis' case.
Here's the only glimpse Carney is willing to share with the public: A federal grand jury indicted Lewis on child pornography possession charges in April 2006.
Judge Carney's move--sealing every single case document filed during the last six years--helped insure that no journalist could alert the public to Lewis or his crimes.
The only official explanation provided to anyone who asks to inspect the court records is a generic, puzzling excuse about Lewis' privacy rights.
Is Lewis a teacher, priest, youth sports coach, elementary school janitor, bus driver, father, Sunday school counselor, massage therapist, candy store clerk or a babysitter?
Is he a politically connected person?
Did he take secret, obscene pictures of kids he knows?
Thanks to the judge, I can't answer any of those questions.
Carney was willing to let the public know that in Feb. 2007, he sentenced Lewis to a term of 51 months in prison and 10 years of federal probation.
Last month, Lewis--who was born in 1968--apparently violated the mysterious terms of his supervised release by committing a new, secret crime and got arrested by an unknown law enforcement agency.
What is the new crime? Where and when was his new crime committed? Did the alleged latest offense physically jeopardize children? Is it helpful that nobody knows this man is a potential danger?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Sadly, Carney--appointed for a life term by President George W. Bush and thus immune from public accountability--has officially deemed answers to all those questions none of our community's business.
Lewis is presently in federal custody inside the Santa Ana City Jail.