MARTINEZ -- A Brentwood real estate agent who on Friday pleaded guilty to six felony counts related to the sexual abuse of his stepgrandaughter was castigated in court in a letter written by the victim's mother, in which she called him "a terrible man."
Ronald Schwartz, 66, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for lewd conduct with a child over a two-month period in 2012. In addition, he was issued a 10-year stay-away order preventing him from contacting the victim, now 7; was ordered to provide a DNA sample and be tested for HIV; and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Before Schwartz was sentenced, and as he peered through the bars of a holding pen in Judge Terri Mockler's courtroom, a letter written by his stepdaughter was read aloud by a family member.
"The sad and brutal truth is that my daughter's innocence was stolen from her by someone we all trusted," the letter read in part, "a man that had been in our lives for many years."
Police began investigating Schwartz, a Brentwood resident, in July 2012 after he called a suicide hotline and confessed his crimes against the victim. He turned himself over to authorities two months later. Two other nieces have reported similar conduct on the part of Schwartz, prosecutor Chad Mahalich said.
defense attorney William Linehan noted that Schwartz "from the beginning has expressed extreme remorse. These events have come to light because Mr. Schwartz alerted law enforcement."
His stepdaughter's strong words, as read by the family member, were anything but conciliatory.
"Instead of sleeping soundly in her bed," she wrote of her daughter, "she is waking from recurring nightmares about people and animals hurting her. He did not make a mistake or have a lapse in judgment. He did terrible, terrible things because he is a terrible man."
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.