A San Diego man was convicted Wednesday of child molestation over the Internet, the first conviction of its kind in California according to his attorney.
Jurors convicted John Kinloch on 33 of the 36 charges including felony child molestation, attempted child molestation and child pornography.
The former elementary school teacher posed as a teenage girl online to lure boys to send him nude photos. The crimes occurred from 1996 to the time of Kinloch’s arrest in November 2012 as part of a nationwide child porn investigation.
Kinloch was not surprised by the verdict and has some remorse for what he’s done, according to defense attorney Kerry Armstrong.
Armstrong plans to appeal the verdict.
“I don’t think when you do what he did on the Internet, that’s child molest,” Armstrong said. “It’s sexting, that’s a crime with a minor in California. But a child molest, I don’t see it.”
In a video shown in court, Kinloch admitted to posing as a 13-year old girl in online chat rooms to get boys to send him nude pictures.
Investigators testified they found 2,000 photos and more than 250 child pornography videos on his hard drive.
According to Armstrong, a big issue in the appeal will be proving the timing between Kinloch’s request for photos of the victims Armstrong calls the “Internet boys” and when the victims actually sent the images.
The attorney believes prosecutors charged Kinloch with those crimes to get a life sentence.
All five victims testified. Only one, John Doe 1, was a former student of Kinloch.
While Kinloch disputes molesting his former student, Kinloch does feel horrible for what he’s done to the other victims.
“It was something he got wrapped up in and something that was wrong,” Armstrong said.
The defense attorney said his client’s relationship with John Doe 3 was unlike the others.
“He deeply loved John Doe 3,” Armstrong said. “I think he realizes it was wrong to date someone so much younger than him at the time.”
Sentencing is scheduled for July 24. Kinloch faces a maximum sentence of 405 years to life, according to Harrison Kennedy, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney.
At the time of his arrest, Kinloch was teaching first grade at Wolf Canyon Elementary School, where he passed background checks according to school district officials.
The Chula Vista Elementary School District ended up filing suit against the federal government saying it knew about Kinloch's role in a 1998 child pornography ring where he was given immunity in exchange for testimony.