SAN JOSE, Calif. - A convicted child molester jailed in California may have committed sex crimes against thousands of victims, police said Thursday after finding computers, notebooks and handwritten lists with more than 36,000 boys' names and codes apparently indicating various sex acts.
Dean Arthur Schwartzmiller, 63, is "one of the most active child molesters we've ever seen," said San Jose Police Lt. Scott Cornfield. Characterizing the case as "horrendous," he appealed for help from the public in identifying more of his victims.
With Schwartzmiller safely behind bars - held without bail on one count of aggravated sexual assault on a child under 14 and six counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child under 14, with each count alleging multiple victims - police were trying to reconstruct his movements over the past 30 years.
A message left for Schwartzmiller's public defender, Irma Gallardo, was not returned Thursday.
Police have also arrested Schwartzmiller's roommate - another convicted child molester - in the home they shared in a middle-class San Jose subdivision. The beige stucco ranch is a 10-minute walk from at least two elementary schools.
The front door was plastered with eviction notices from the landlord, saying the pair had three days to pay $1,850 in monthly rent or face eviction. Half-closed blinds revealed a home office whose floor was littered with power cords, computer manuals, printers, manila envelopes and a bottle of tequila.
Lisa Thornburg, who moved into the neighborhood in March and lives two doors from Schwartzmiller, said she's been suspicious for months - ever since her 9- and 6-year-old sons came home with treats Schwartzmiller purchased for them from an ice cream truck.
"After that, I told them they could ride bikes past his house but couldn't go inside - ever," Thornburg said as her kids played with another neighborhood child in the front driveway. "It's been frightening and fairly disgusting to find out what's going on, but I guess it's a blessing they caught him and he's in jail now. What are the chances of two people like this living on your block?"
During a search of Schwartzmiller's bedroom last month in San Jose, police discovered at least seven multicolored, spiral-bound notebooks, listing in loopy cursive more than 36,000 children's names - apparently all boys.
The names were categorized according to the type of sex acts performed, the age of the victims and other codes whose meaning is unclear - such as an "F" or "X" at the end of the entry. Many of the entries listed in more than 1,360 pages did not include last names, and some appeared to be repeats, making police cautious about estimating how many people Schwartzmiller may have victimized.
"If one-tenth of these numbers are accurate, we're looking at hundreds of victims in a number of states. The reason we want to tell the world about this is because we believe he's been involved in child molestations in a number of countries," said Cornfield.
Schwartzmiller's roommate, Fred Everts, is also in jail after police arrested him last month. He was convicted in 1993 for sodomy and sex abuse in Multnomah County, Oregon, and spent four years in prison before violating parole and fleeing the state.
Everts also was charged with child molestation in San Jose, including one count involving one of Schwartzmiller's two alleged victims.
Police who raided the home seized several computers and a 6-foot-tall server, which is being analyzed by a forensic lab in Menlo Park. Cornfield, who is part of a special police unit specializing in Internet crimes against children, said police are trying to determine whether Schwartzmiller was operating a Web site or otherwise using his computers to lure victims.
Although police say Schwartzmiller appears to have spent much of the past 30 years in California, he has also been arrested on child molestation charges in New York, Idaho, Oregon, Arkansas and Washington. He has also lived in Nevada, Texas and Washington.
In 1984, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld a 1978 conviction for molesting two 14-year-old boys and characterized Schwartzmiller as a "repeat offender" who "uses his intelligence to take advantage of the weak and oppressed and those who are in need."
Schwartzmiller "frequents areas where young boys may be found, befriends boys with no father figure in the home, entices them from their homes, lowers their natural inhibitions through the use of drugs and alcohol, and commits sex acts upon them," the justices wrote.
He's also wanted in Oregon on felony sexual assault charges involving a minor. After serving prison time in Idaho for child molestation in the late 1970s, he lived in Brazil, and was extradited from there to Idaho again in the late 1980s, Cornfield said.
Schwartzmiller has used aliases including Dean Harmon and Dean Miller.
He apparently gained the trust of victims and parents by working as a home renovation contractor, and it appears that he didn't register as required, so that his history as a sex offender did not appear in the "Megan's Law" databases in California or other states, they said