Sex offender convicted of posing as boy online to woo girl

Rennard Cawkwell

VISTA, Calif. — A registered sex offender who posed online as a teenage boy and carried on sexually explicit conversations with a 16-year-old girl, then showed up at her Escondido home a day after his parole ended, was convicted Wednesday of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime and annoying or molesting a child.

A jury, however, deadlocked on a charge of possessing matter depicting a person under 18 in sexual conduct against Rennard Cawkwell, who faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced May 30 at the Vista Courthouse.

Escondido police Lt. Ed Varso said the 16-year-old victim believed she was communicating online with a 17-year-old boy.

Varso said Cawkwell, now 48, was released from parole and GPS monitoring in late March 2016, then the next day showed up at the girl’s home. Her family and a neighbor thwarted Cawkwell’s attempt to meet the victim and called police, triggering an investigation by detectives from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Prosecutors said Cawkwell was convicted in 2009 of preying on an 11- year-old girl online, engaging in sexual conversations then trying to meet her for sex