SAN JOSE, Calif. - When Dean Schwartzmiller and Frederick Everts met in a county jail in Portland, Ore., they became fast friends. And why not? They had a lot in common: long rap sheets for child molestation and a preference for young boys.
Their friendship continued to grow when they shared time in state prison for their separate sexual offenses. Then, about two years ago, Schwartzmiller was released and moved to San Jose. He filled his home with toys, video games, a foosball table and other enticements for boys, police records show. And he waited for his buddy Everts to join him.
When he was released, Everts illegally skipped his parole and moved in with Schwartzmiller, who had been busy befriending two boys, 12-year-old cousins.
Now, Schwartzmiller and Everts are in a Santa Clara County, Calif., jail on seven felony counts each for sexual crimes. Both are also wanted on warrants out of Oregon.
And Schwartzmiller may turn out to be one of the country's most prolific child molesters.
Investigators found notebooks filled with more than 36,000 entries, logging information such as boys who cried, boys who said no, blond boys - and graphic sexual details.
It was "keeping score," Everts said of his friend's logs. Schwartzmiller thought he was dying, and his "manuscript was his parting story," Everts told police.
Keeping books - or souvenirs of exploits - fits the profile of many child molesters, said Robert Dillon, a San Jose police detective with the Child Exploitation Detail and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
"Child sexual predators tend to keep material, writings, anything that can remind them of the act themselves or the victim," Dillon said. "They tend to hang onto things, whether you want to call it a trophy or a memento of the occasion."
Investigators are still puzzling over the journals. Steven Fein, the Santa Clara County prosecutor on the case, said the total victims could total hundreds or thousands. "We just don't know for sure," he said Friday.
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, a research associate at the Crimes Against Children Research Center, was among many taken aback by the enormity of Schwartzmiller's alleged trail of victims.
"This is the first time I've heard of anything this big," she said Friday. "I can't imagine how he's managed to fly under the radar for so long."
He did have some good fortune.
Michael McShane, Schwartzmiller's lead attorney in his 1993 sodomy case in Oregon, recalls him as "a fixated individual" whom he'll never forget.
"The guy has had better luck than anybody I know in the criminal justice system," he said. "The prosecutor has had a very difficult time getting cases to stick against him."
For example, the Idaho Supreme Court ordered a new trial after a 1976 conviction on a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor under 16 years old. The justices found that the victim lied during a preliminary examination; they ruled that the rest of the boy's testimony was tainted.
After Schwartzmiller served 18 months on the sentence, the state dismissed the charge.
Schwartzmiller went free in February 1978. And he soon was back in prison after being convicted of abusing boys he befriended while hanging out at a restaurant and a junior-high school parking lot near his home in Idaho.
According to the Idaho Statesman newspaper, he served about six years of a 25-year sentence and was a chief plaintiff in a string of successful prison-overcrowding lawsuits.
Now San Jose police have picked up the thread of his possible crimes, which cover more than 30 years in several states and possibly Mexico and Brazil. Schwartzmiller speaks both Spanish and Portuguese.
In early 2002, police records show, Schwartzmiller, who did plaster and stucco work, hired the father of one of the alleged victims as a day worker. The men became friends. Schwartzmiller hired the boy and another child to clean his pool and work in his yard, paying them $40. The boys played board games, video games and sports with Schwartzmiller, a court document says.
Eventually, Schwartzmiller and Everts took the boys on trips and hikes. They bought the boys cell phones, clothes, shoes and toys. Schwartzmiller paid to enroll the Spanish-speaking boy in private school.
Everts had sex with one boy, he told police. Finally, the boy told Everts he wanted no more sexual touching, according to a police report.
The report suggests the men had two more victims, although they are not reflected in the charges. Schwartzmiller also allegedly tried to have sex with the boy who resisted Everts, offering the boy $50 and a car. The boy "didn't want to but he was excited that he was going to get the car and the money," a police report says.
With the consent of the boys' parents, they began to have "sleepovers" at the men's house. Sometimes, Schwartzmiller allegedly molested the boys as they slept in sleeping bags.
The men's downfall was a hit-and-run collision, after which Schwartzmiller apparently left the scene. On May 18, tips led officers to the home of the men. Schwartzmiller was away; Everts first gave a phony name but finally confessed - and the police soon learned he was wanted in Oregon.
Everts was arrested, and Schwartzmiller feared the police were bearing down on him. He allegedly called one of the boys he is now accused of molesting, instructing him to go to the home he and Everts shared to remove and destroy paperwork and CD computer files. He and his sister did, and she found a paper saying Schwartzmiller was wanted by the FBI.
Alarmed, the family turned it over to the police.