Convicted Child Molester Jim Renick Arrested In Ohio

August 10, 2018

A convicted child molester and former local television news reporter faces charges related to photographing children at an Ohio swim meet on Sunday, then lying to police about being a registered sex offender.

Jim Renick, 69, of 56 S. Third Ave., Beech Grove, Indiana, was charged with obstruction of justice after Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office deputies said he lied to them about his status as a registered sex offender while at a swim meet in Harpersfield Twp. , Ohio. 

Renick, a former WNEP-TV reporter and anchor, had professional photography equipment and two cameras at the swim meet at Spire Sports Center Complex. He raised suspicion after he changed his stories several times to organizers about why he was taking pictures at the event, which involved children 14 years old and younger, charging papers indicate.  

Staff members called police.

Renick told police he was there to photograph a friend’s child, but also said he wasn’t sure of the child’s name. Then he said he was a freelance photographer, then an amateur photographer. 

“I told (him) that I didn’t believe a word he was saying,” wrote Deputy Rob Ginn in arrest papers. Renick offered to leave the building. 

As Renick walked out, a deputy asked if he was a registered sex offender or if there was any reason he shouldn’t be around children. Renick nervously answered no, according to arrest documents.

Outside, a deputy asked for Renick’s driver’s license and eventually learned Renick must register as a sex offender for life. 

When questioned again, Renick said he wasn’t allowed to be around children, parks and schools, the deputy said. 

Investigators looked at the photos on Renick’s equipment, which depicted children at the meet, others of young boys at a basketball court at a playground and another of a shirtless young boy standing next to a car in a parking lot, according to court documents. 

The deputy then arrested Renick and confiscated his cameras and camera cards, and later his cellphone, as evidence.

Investigators also learned Renick had recently been seen at other swim events in Indiana and Ohio, according to court papers.

Renick is being held in Ashtabula County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

Deputies said they ran Renick’s name through Google and learned about his history in Northeast Pennsylvania. 

Renick worked as a newscaster with WNEP-TV for years before his 1995 arrest for molesting a 12-year-old Luzerne County boy and taking sexually suggestive photographs of other boys. 

Renick attended swim meets and visited pools locally to take pictures of the children. Police found thousands of photographs of young boys in swimsuits, pornographic material and various kinds of sexual devices in his apartment. The television station fired him shortly after his arrest.

Renick served a six-year sentence in state prison after pleading guilty to molesting the boy and taking the pictures.

Authorities arrested Renick on an alleged probation violation about two weeks after his release in 2002 after he met the victim at a Luzerne County Wal-Mart. Renick claimed he didn’t know the victim worked at the store and a judge later ruled the encounter wasn’t a probation infraction. In 2015, a judge sentenced Renick to jail time and additional probation for violating probation for being caught outside his Indiana home with a camera.