A registered sex offender was arrested last week while taking photographs of children at a 14-and-under swim meet in Ohio.
James F. Renick is a former television news reporter who is registered as a sex offender for life, Cleveland.com reports. Police were called to the Spire Sports Complex in Geneva, Ohio on Sunday morning, August 5, and Cleveland.com reports that staff “told police they got concerned over a man taking photographs of the swimmers.” The Spire Institute hosted the Central Zone Age Group Championships that weekend, a meet for 14-and-under swimmers.
According to police, when they confronted Renick, he changed his story multiple times. The local ABC affiliate reports that Renick was dressed as photographer and carrying professional photography equipment. The ABC story says that Renick first gave several different reasons he was at the meet: that he was a freelance photographer, that he was photographing a friend’s child (whose name he couldn’t remember), and that he was an amateur photographer looking to sell photographs.
Asked if he was a registered sex offender or prevented from being around children, Renick at first said no, Cleveland.com reports. But he later told police he’d served six years in prison for molesting two boys under 10 years old. He told police his sex offender status prevented him from being around children, parks or schools, but said he didn’t know if he was prevented from being at the Spire Center.
Cleveland.com reports that Renick pleaded guilty in 1996 to child molestation, and that a search of his home around that time found “thousands of photographs of young boys naked and in bathing suits.”
At the Zone meet, Renick eventually showed police the photos on his SD card. Cleveland.com reports that they included images of “young boys in the diving section of the pool” as well as other locations. He was arrested for obstructing justice by being untruthful to police. A witness also told police that Renick was seen taking photos at other events across Ohio and Indiana.