Alleged Paso Robles child molester opts to defend himself in court

Jason Robert Porter

A Paso Robles man, who allegedly molested or secretly recorded numerous people, including toddlers, has ousted his public defender and opted to represent himself at trial. [Tribune]

Jason Robert Porter stated he disagreed with his attorney on aspects of his defense. Porter’s defense now could hinge, in part, on the involvement in the case of a former Paso Robles police officer who resigned while facing allegations of sexual assault while on the job. 

Officers arrested Porter in June 2016 after a woman found the man allegedly taking lewd photographs of her 6-year-old daughter. Prosecutors allege Porter molested five children under the age of 7 between 2012 and 2016. At least one of the alleged molestation victims may have been younger than the age of 2.

Porter is charged with 16 felony counts of lewd acts with a child, sexual penetration of a victim 10 years old or younger, possession of matter depicting a minor involved in sexual content and 41 misdemeanor counts of using a concealed camera to record a person’s undergarments. 

The defendant recently submitted a Faretta waiver request to Judge Craig van Rooyen, saying he wanted to relieve Steve Rice, his appointed defense counsel. Rice served as Porter’s attorney for about three years.

“My current public defender and I do not agree on all aspects of my defense,” Porter wrote. “I may not be nearly as qualified, but no one else will fight for me as diligently as I will.”

Van Rooyen approved Porter’s request. The judge then ordered that all non-protective discovery be made available to Porter. Van Rooyen also assigned Porter a court-appointed investigator.

Porter has indicated he will file a series of motions, which will include a request that he receive confidential personnel records for former Paso Robles police Sgt. Christopher McGuire.

Last year, McMguire resigned from the Paso Robles force after being accused of committing sexual assaults while on the job. McGuire avoided prosecution even though DNA evidence showed he had sex with the alleged victim.

While serving as a Paso Robles officer, McGuire worked on the Porter case and testified at a preliminary hearing. At the March 2017 hearing, McGuire testified that Porter installed a concealed surveillance camera in the bathroom of his family’s home, and investigators found as many as 40,000 videos and images on several computers, cameras and storage devices.

Testimony in the case has also revealed Porter allegedly held down a 4-year-old girl while he performed oral sex.

After police arrested Porter in June 2016, he quickly posted bail. Officers arrested Porter again the following month, and he has since remained in jail with his bail set at $7 million. 

Jury selection in the case is scheduled for Aug. 5. However, the trial could be postponed as Porter prepares his defense.

As CalCoastNews first reported, more than a decade ago, author Tina Swithin began battling to keep Porter, her former brother-in-law, away from her children. Swithin said that Porter beat puppies, made out with a 14-year-old girl at a wedding and spoke of murdering and raping women. 

However, a social services evaluator dismissed her claims and asked the court to force Swithin to send her children to the Porter home for the holidays.