By Paul Thissen
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 11/14/2008 04:59:16 PM PST
A 61-year-old Orinda real estate executive and former St. Mary's College
professor was sentenced Friday to 15 years in prison for producing child
pornography in a case stemming from his travels to Costa Rica to have
sex with a 12-year-old girl.
Leonard Auerbach was sentenced under a plea agreement he made in August,
according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Auerbach was also ordered to pay a $200,000 fine and forfeit an
additional $270,000 from the sale of a Costa Rican beach house where he
committed the crimes. In addition, he must pay $178,000 in restitution:
$78,000 to the girl and $100,000 to the National Center for Missing and
Auerbach pleaded guilty to the charges in August.
In April, Auerbach fled the country after charges were filed. After
being named a "most wanted" fugitive by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, he was arrested in Cuba by local authorities in May and
extradited back to the United States in June. Cuba and the United States
do not have an extradition treaty; Cuba expelled him because of the
"grave" nature of his crimes, according to U.S. immigration officials.
From 2003 to 2007, Auerbach traveled about 40 times to a house he owned
in Costa Rica. Images found at his Orinda home in August 2007 included
child pornography taken in Costa Rica in 2004, when the girl in the
images was 12, according to the indictment and an ICE news release.
Auerbach also referred to her as his "girlfriend," admitted her age and
said in a secretly recorded conversation in July 2007 that he had sex
with her, according to immigration officials.