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Closing arguments take place in child sex crimes case against Paso Robles man

The DA's Office on Tuesday announced the dismissal of five of the 59 charges against him
Jason Porter court.PNG
Posted at 2:34 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 22:42:23-04

UPDATE: Both sides presented their closing arguments before the judge on Tuesday. The case is set to resume again Wednesday morning where the judge will announce his verdict.
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ORIGINAL STORY: Closing arguments are underway in the trial for a northern San Luis Obispo County man charged with dozens of child sex crimes.

Jason Porter’s case began nearly five years ago following his June 2016 arrest for possession of child pornography and lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.

That investigation led to a search warrant that was served at the now 49-year-old's home where dozens of electronic devices and cameras were seized.

Police say thousands of pictures and videos of suspected child pornography were discovered, including some that investigators say appeared to have been manufactured by Porter.

Police add that some images showed the suspect “in the act of sexually molesting at least nine different juvenile girls.”

The youngest is alleged to have been 1-year-old, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Porter, from Paso Robles, was re-arrested and bail set at $7 million.

He was initially charged with 31 counts of child pornography and child sex crimes, but a new complaint filed in April 2017 included 59 charges and two enhancements.

The crimes were alleged to have occurred between February 2008 and June 2016.

His trial began last week with testimony from parents of at least one of the alleged victims.

During closing arguments Tuesday afternoon, defense attorneys also argued that in at least one case, Porter was simply helping a little girl take a bath.

“And what I see in the video is little different than any adult assisting a child bathing him or herself in the bathtub,” said Defense Attorney Jeffry Radding.

Prosecutor Melissa Chabra countered, saying there was clear evidence in the video of a sexual motive.

“So the defendant‘s obsession with taking these videos was his downfall and the people are requesting that the court find the defendant guilty as charged with each and every count and special allegation.”

The DA’s Office also announced the dismissal of five of the charges on Tuesday.

Porter waived the right to a jury trial, so San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Barry T. LaBarbera will make the final ruling.

Porter has remained behind bars at the San Luis Obispo County Jail since July 16, 2016, according to jail logs.

While his case has made its way through the court system, he has had numerous attorneys and at one time, even represented himself.

If Porter were to be convicted on all charges prior to Tuesday's dismissal of five of the charges, he faced more than a life sentence.

KSBY will have live updates from court on KSBY News Tuesday at 5 and 6 p.m.