MARTINEZ -- The jury in the trial of a Brentwood man charged with 34 felony counts of child molestation began deliberations in a Contra Costa courtroom Tuesday.
Gordon Blake, a political activist who twice ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination to the state Legislature in the early 2000s, is accused of molesting four boys from 1992 to 1999. The alleged crimes went unreported until January 2013, when one of the alleged victims, now an adult, wrote letters to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office and a Brentwood police officer.
After John Doe 3 made his accusations, three other men came forward claiming to be victims. The alleged victims are referred to as John Does, based on the dates of the alleged crimes.
In closing arguments that began Monday afternoon and continued until noon Tuesday, deputy district attorney Ryan Wagner told the jury of eight men and four women that Blake's behavior fit a pattern -- befriending boys who didn't have father figures and gaining their trust by giving them alcohol, cigarettes and change for the ice cream truck.
The abuse, the prosecutor said, citing testimony from the trial, occurred in such locations as a community pool and spa, in Blake's house and at a Calaveras County cabin owned by Blake's family, and included oral copulation and sodomy.
Wagner also cited excerpts from a February 2013 conversation between Blake, now 53, and John Doe 3, during which John Doe 3 wore a hidden recording device.
"I had some bad tendencies and feelings," Blake is heard to say on the recording. "I had evil tendencies. I was a bad person at that time."
"He preyed upon multiple kids in his community," Wagner said. "He used these four boys to fulfill his depravity."
Defense attorney Tom Johnson questioned the credibility of John Doe 3, who is cited in 26 of the 34 counts, referring to John Doe 3's lengthy criminal record.
"This guy is a straight sociopath," Johnson told the jury. "He's 32, he's got six felonies. He spent his youth in juvenile hall. And he's a little bit crazy. That's the person they want you to believe was victimized by Mr. Blake for all these years."
Johnson also criticized Brentwood police detective Todd Orlando, who received one of John Doe 3's initial letters.
"I don't have any confidence in the Brentwood Police Department, and you shouldn't, either," Johnson told the jury. "(Orlando) becomes a cheerleader (for the alleged victims) and loses his professional perspective. This is a case polluted by poor detective work, bias and complicated by a person (John Doe 3) no one would want in their life."
During his rebuttal, Wagner said John Doe 3 was "one piece in what was shown to be a predisposition (for Blake) to molest children during this time period."
Blake sat quietly at the defense table during Tuesday morning's proceedings, showing no visible emotion.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.