Former Rohrabacher Aide Pleads Guilty: Sex with boys

The Orange County Register is reporting that former aide to Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Jeffrey Ray Nielsen has pled guilty to molesting two boys.

Lucky guy, he only gets 3 years in prison. I guess Republican Political Connections pay off afterall.

Just another day in WTF Republican scandals.

I don’t have the direct links available right now, but Moxley at the OCWeekly has covered this story well for quite some time. Check out OCWeekly.com for their coverage.

So what do you think? Did Nielsen’s political connections help him get a good deal with the DA? Will Red County/OCBlog and FLASHREPORT cover, spin, or cover-up the story? ;)

  26 comments for “Former Rohrabacher Aide Pleads Guilty: Sex with boys

  1. Dan Chmielewski
    December 5, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Frank Mickadeit covered this last Feb; here is his column on the case.

    Friday, February 23, 2007
    Molestation trial devoid of politics so far
    FRANK MICKADEIT
    Register columnist
    fmickadeit@ocregister.com Comments 0| Recommend 0

    The first words to me out of defense attorney Paul Meyer’s mouth at the Newport Beach courthouse were, “This isn’t newsworthy.” There’s no better way to ensure unrelenting coverage of something than to say that to a journalist. Because Meyer is widely considered one of the smartest lawyers in Orange County, I assume he actually wants me to chronicle gavel to gavel this strange bit of jurisprudence called The People v. Jeffrey Ray Nielsen.

    Hate to disappoint him, but I don’t think I will. Not that it isn’t a serious case, but I don’t think it is going to materialize into the political scrum some predicted.

    The setup: Nielsen, 36, is charged with molesting a 14-year-old boy. Nielsen is the son of former Fountain Valley Mayor Ben Nielsen. The younger Nielsen is a USC-educated lawyer who was recommended for admission to the law school by political kingpin Mike Schroeder. He interned at the D.A.’s Office. He worked on Scott Baugh’s Assembly campaign, and Baugh later helped him get hired at the prestigious law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Schroeder and Rohrabacher have denied knowing anything about Nielsen’s private life. He was, they say, a very junior political player they barely knew at all. Baugh declined to comment.

    The case has taken four years to come to trial. It has been suggested these heavyweights conspired with the D.A.’s Office to delay the case, hoping it would go away and thereby sparing some embarrassing revelations – such as that prominent people knew of Nielsen’s attraction to boys. Last fall, Rohrabacher’s political opponents circulated an anonymously authored flier accusing him of just that. He denied it.

    I’ve not seen evidence of such political pressure, and I got no sense anything like that is going to be revealed at his trial, which finally started yesterday. In fact, based on the opening statements by both lawyers, I’m not even sure Nielsen will be convicted. And if anyone is to blame for this case languishing, I’d say it’s as likely to be Meyer as anyone. The longer it takes to go to trial, the older and less vulnerable the accuser will appear to jurors and the hazier his memories. Meyer, note, was able to delay Judge Ron Kline’s conviction and sentencing for six years.

    Prosecutor Dan Hess(he of HaidlI) took precisely one hour to outline his case. There was no hint of Nielsen’s political connections. He said the now 18-year-old man will testify that while he was a willing participant, Nielsen nonetheless illegally had sex with him on three occasions in the spring of 2003 – twice at Nielsen’s Ladera Ranch condo and once in the Westminster trailer where the boy lived with his mother. E-mails between the two, as well as man-boy pornography found in Nielsen’s computers, will help corroborate the charges, Hess says. The boy was also able to describe Nielsen’s bedroom to investigators, right down to the stuffed bear and elephant Nielsen kept on his bed.

    Meyer spent 73 minutes on his opening, conceding Nielsen knew the boy and spent a little time with him, but saying the boy lied about the sex. Evidence will show the boy was the aggressor, seeking sex in a chat room while posing as a man and that he visited Nielsen’s house only once – and then only for a few minutes. In Meyer’s version, the boy’s mom and school counselor found out he was trolling for men, and it was to his advantage to claim to be a victim rather than face punishment. The cops, wanting to bag a USC lawyer, overlooked inconsistencies between his story and the evidence and persuaded the D.A. to file charges.

    The same e-mail trail Hess is using to try to convict Nielsen actually points to his innocence, Meyer says. For example, two days after Hess says the two engaged in oral sex, the boy sent Nielsen an e-mail that said: “Thanks for everything. … Next time, can we make out?” That message, Meyer says, doesn’t sound like one from a recent sex partner. Rather, he says, it is consistent with Nielsen’s story, which is that once he met the boy and realized he was underage, he only counseled him.

    Nielsen is a man who could easily pass for 25. He spent the morning sitting between Meyer and co-counsel Ed George, scribbling notes on a legal pad. His father sat in the audience.

    While the trial is shaping up to be to a standard, sordid molestation case, it will be worthwhile to see the accuser on the stand. That’s probably happening Monday.

  2. December 5, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Chris:

    Maybe you missed it, but I included the story in the monring news round up — in the second spot, I believe.

    And precisely how is this a “Republican” scandal? Was Nielsen driven to molest teenage boys by his GOP registration?

    Would you then characterize former Rep. Gerry Studds buggering of teenage boys as a “Democratic” scandal?

  3. The Truth
    December 5, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    Jubal, you are so Reagan Administration. So 80′s.

    Gerry Studds?

    Maybe Chris would prefer to discuss this:

    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/former-cantwell-aide-will-remain-in-jail-for-now-2007-12-05.html

  4. Dan Chmielewski
    December 5, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    Matt –
    Buggering?

    Chris’ point is that Republicans frequently vote against the interests of GLBT voters, yet so many are closeted, making their votes on such matters hypocritical.

    Larry Craig (restrooms), Mark Foley (inappropriate IMs), David Vitter (hookers and diapers), exhibit behavior best found in Penthouse Forum while the martial indiscretions of Bob Livingston, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Guiliani, and the late Henry Hyde make Bill Clinton look like a piker.

    But back to the case. From Frank’s story….Nielsen is the son of former Fountain Valley Mayor Ben Nielsen. The younger Nielsen is a USC-educated lawyer who was recommended for admission to the law school by political kingpin Mike Schroeder. He interned at the D.A.’s Office. He worked on Scott Baugh’s Assembly campaign, and Baugh later helped him get hired at the prestigious law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Schroeder and Rohrabacher have denied knowing anything about Nielsen’s private life. He was, they say, a very junior political player they barely knew at all.

    This is why its a Republican scandal; prominent GOP leaders backed Nielsen his entire adult life. Did anyone every try to get to know this kid or was it a form of political nepotism that allowed Nielsen the opportunities handed him by prominent Republican leaders.

    And back to another point I think Chris was trying to make: you included the story in a roundup on the blog, but there was no commentary. Had Nielsen been an aide to Loretta Sanchez, do you believe you wouldn’t have posted about it? I’m pretty sure you would have had a commentary on it/

  5. December 5, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    But Dan — this isn’t an LGBT issue. The Nielsen case is about pedophilia.

    I don’t see this as a case of voting hypocrisy as much as story of possible coverup.

  6. Evening Coffee
    December 5, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Gila is right on the money with “possible coverup”. That’s exactly what Nielsen was hoping for when aligning himself with the likes of Schroeder, Rohrbacher and Baugh. Anyone with Sex Crimes Investigation experience will tell you that’s what a smart predator like Nielsen does to try and set himself up in case he gets caught. Nice try, Jubal.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    December 5, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    You are right of course, Gila. But I do know a number of right wingers who can’t tell the two apart.

  8. Flowerszzz
    December 5, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    I agree with you that this is a pedophilia issue.

    Chris, if you are going to infer that it is a Republican issue, I guess the possiblity would also be that it is a Gay issue as well.

  9. December 5, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Chris’ point is that Republicans frequently vote against the interests of GLBT voters, yet so many are closeted, making their votes on such matters hypocritical.

    Dan,

    Did you use a ouija board to conjure that point out of Chris’s post?

    Chris didn’t make that point at all. Not remotely.

    This is a simple look-a-closeted-gay-GOPer-man-aren’t-they-all-hypocrites cheap shot. Nielsen’s party registration has absolutely nothing to do with his crime. Nothing.

    This is why its a Republican scandal; prominent GOP leaders backed Nielsen his entire adult life. Did anyone every try to get to know this kid or was it a form of political nepotism that allowed Nielsen the opportunities handed him by prominent Republican leaders.

    OK, Dan. Then I guess you’re ready to apply this standard to your own party. Let’s start with you saying “Bill Clinton’s philandering was a Democratic scandal” or “Gerry Studds having sex with teenage boys was a Democratic scandal,” etc.

    And back to another point I think Chris was trying to make: you included the story in a roundup on the blog, but there was no commentary. Had Nielsen been an aide to Loretta Sanchez, do you believe you wouldn’t have posted about it? I’m pretty sure you would have had a commentary on it/

    Really? What would I have said? Do I have a track record of commenting on people’s sex lives? Did I editorialize about Umberg’s infidelity when he was running for supervisor?

  10. December 6, 2007 at 12:16 am

    Another self-professed religious conservative Republican caught in a sex scandal. Professes his innocence, and then finally admits his guilt.

    The scandal is the cover-up. The scandal is the hypocrisy that caused the cover-up and denials. The fact that it involves another well connected Republican; with strong ties to Scott Baugh, Dana Rohrabacher, and Mike Schroeder; who finally pleads guilty after years of denial… well that’s just priceless.

  11. December 6, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Chris:

    I thought the scandal was Nielsen was having sex with teenage boys?

    His partisan affiliation has nothing to do with this — unless one wants to use the crime to take cheap shots at Republicans, which you apparently do.

    But perhaps you know something we don’t. Perhaps you can let us know how Nielsen’s party registration caused him to seek out minor teenage boys and seduce them?

    And are you saying Baugh, Rohrabacher and Schroeder should somehow have know about Nielsen’s secret life? How, pray tell?

  12. Dan Chmielewski
    December 6, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Matt –
    You’ll have to forgive me here, but the left has been taking cheap shots from the right for years. I think if Rohrabacher, Schroeder and Baugh are going to do Nielsen the favors that they did, they probably should have vetted him better.

    And I do belivee Bill Clinton’s infideltiy was a Democratic scandal and that Gerry Studd’s “bugegring” of male pages was a Democratic scanadal (you left out Barney Frank) as those things hurt our party. Voters returned Studds to office after his censure. And I’m pretty sure if Bill Clinton could run again, he’d be elected in a landslide. I actually would like to see Bill take Hillary’s spot in the US Senate after she gets elected president (there, that’ll get your blood pressure up)

  13. RHackett
    December 6, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I remember quite well how many of the local GOP were calling for Clinton’s resignation when he admitted to having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Yet not a word of resignation demands for Mike Carona. Jubal, if GOP’s want their party affiliation kept seperate their sex lives then they need to take the lead stop commenting on the sex lives of Dems. It’s quite simple.

    As far as Nielsen and his relationship with Baugh et al. Only those involved know if Nielsen asked for any special consideration. If they did, I’m sure you’ll be the first to denounce any of those actions.

  14. RHackett
    December 6, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Matt. More for your consideration. As it relates to the obsession GOP’s have with the sex lives of Dems and their double standards.

    “Republicans can’t have two sets of rules: If we’re going to say that what he did matters, we have to say that it also matters for us.”

    – Mike Huckabee, in a forthcoming interview with GQ, on his Republican rivals criticizing Bill and Hillary Clinton’s personal life when many of them were married multiple times.

  15. December 6, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    I think if Rohrabacher, Schroeder and Baugh are going to do Nielsen the favors that they did, they probably should have vetted him better.

    You’re kidding, right? How do you vet for that one?: Excuse me Jeff – but before I write that law school letter of recommendation, I need to ask you some questions: Do you download kiddie porn? Do you have sex with teenage boys?”

    Have you similarly vetted all of your employees/contractors/associates?

    And I do belivee Bill Clinton’s infideltiy was a Democratic scandal and that Gerry Studd’s “bugegring” of male pages was a Democratic scandal (you left out Barney Frank) as those things hurt our party.

    OK, but those cases involved a President of the United States and a Congressman. This involves a guy who was a GOP activist for a few years. Just a bit different.

  16. RHackett
    December 6, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    How is it different? Does a persons station in life now justify a difference in reaction? Where are the outcries over Carona’s alledged infidelities? He’s the Sheriff of the county and the OC GOP has been deafening in its silence regarding his immoral behavior. Should I draw the conclusion the groups unwillingness to call for resignation or even criticize Carona is because the group is itself immoral?

  17. Dan Chmielewski
    December 6, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    “Excuse me Jeff – but before I write that law school letter of recommendation, I need to ask you some questions: Do you download kiddie porn? Do you have sex with teenage boys?”

    Oh come on; how about writing a letter of recommendation for a young man you actually know instead of doing a favor for his father. How about sitting down with the kid for a few afternoons and having earnest discussions with him about career ambitions and life goals. I don’t know about you, but when I’m asked for a letter of recommendation, I weigh it carefully to how well I know someone. And I have said, “no, I can’t give you one.”

    The other Republican sex scandals involve senators and congressmen. A scandal involving someone in your party hurts your prty just as a scandal involving someone in my party hurts my party. I abhor the William Jefferson/cash in the freeezer story/Sandy Berger with documents in his pants, but I’m confident that justice will be done.

  18. December 6, 2007 at 6:32 pm

    How is it different? Does a persons station in life now justify a difference in reaction?

    You’re missing the point, which was Dan saying Clinton’s infidelity an Studds boy-buggering were Democratic scandals. My point is only because of their offices. If they were just two Joe Citizens who were also activist Democrats, I don’t think their behavior would rate as “Democratic scandals.”

    And let’s be clear about something: at least Jeff Nielsen will be paying a far heavier price for his actions than either Clinton or Studds. He’s not going to prison long enough in my opinion, but his justly losing his freedom for three years is three years more than Studds got for doing the same thing.

  19. RHackett
    December 6, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong. Wasn’t Studds and Clinton both investigated by the justice system pertaining to their respective offices? Clinton was acquitted, and Studds received a censure.

    We are told by the OC GOP that Carona deserves his day in court. Clinton had his day in court and was acquitted. Yet you say he should have paid a price. Exactly what price should an acquitted defendant pay?

  20. Northcountystorm
    December 6, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Personally, by itself, I don’t think this creates some kind of scandal for the GOP. If Rohrbacher or Baugh had known about this guy’s behavior, that might be different. The GOP elected officials wing has enough private moral scandals like Foley and Bauman and Vitter without needing an aide’s child abuse to pile on.

    But the cold, hard reality is that in American politics, few care about the niceties of whether it is reasonable to tag someone or a Party. If sex is involved, people will read about it and people will exploit it. Whether its attacking Grover Cleveland or Bill Clinton for their sexual peccadillos, the GOP has set the standard for sex scandal attacks. Ergo, they don’t get any sympathy from me even when, as in this case, its a stretch. Matthew 7:1, eh Jubal?

    Jubal sasid he would not have exploited the issue if an aide to Rep. Sanchez had committed the same crime . I’ll take him at his word. But if it was Van Tran v. Sanchez I don’t think Mike Schroder or other GOP consiglieres or gunslingers would have hesitated to exploit such an issue against Sanchez.

    You have to like Mike Huckabee for challenging the GOP to be consistent with their holier then thous(a tip of the hat to RHackett for that quote).

  21. December 6, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Yet you say he should have paid a price.

    RHackett, please stop putting words in my mouth. You accused me of saying a persons station in life justifies a different reaction to their transgressions — which I never said.

    Now your twisting my response to that straw man.

    Yes, as well know, Clinton was tried and acquitted by the Senate. But can we remember it wasn’t for having an affair?

    As for Studds, that was laughable. What is the difference between what he did and what Nielsen did? Studds got a censure, Nielsen (rightly) is going to prison.

    Northcountystorm, I agree that there are always partisans from both side ready and eager to jump on the sexual transgressions of the other side, even when it really has nothing to do with politics — as this post demonstrates.

  22. December 6, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Jubal said he would not have exploited the issue if an aide to Rep. Sanchez had committed the same crime . I’ll take him at his word.

    Thank you, but I think you can take more than my word for it. If that were my bag, I would have had a field day during the 1st Supe District race, but I barely mentioned it.

  23. RHackett
    December 6, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Jubal you stated:

    Yes, as well know, Clinton was tried and acquitted by the Senate. But can we remember it wasn’t for having an affair?

    I remember quite well it was for the same crime that Bush pardoned “Scooter” Libby. Since there was no outrage over that action by conservatives I can conclude it wasn’t that important an issue to those same conservatives. Including the ones in OC.

    You also stated:

    Jeff Nielsen will be paying a far heavier price for his actions than either Clinton or Studds.

    Was Clinton ever accused of molesting underage boys? Or girls? He was found to have had consensual sex with an adult women. Again I have to conclude that is not an important issue to OC GOP members since there is no outrage over similar acts by Carona. So what price should Clinton have paid? And will conservatives in OC be demanding a similar price be paid by Carona? Studds went through the legal process and was never indicted or charged with any crime. Do you have special knowledge not available to those investigating the issue that would have led them to a different conclusion?

    Once again you throw out the “strawman” term usually heard at HS debates. You are at least consistent and dare I say predictable.

  24. Dan Chmielewski
    December 6, 2007 at 10:43 pm

    Actually, Clinton was impeached for lying under oath. And its the “under oath” part that had nothing to do with managing the country or national defense. Bush and Cheney have been caught in repeated lies, most recently the flap over the latest NIE on Iran. The key..they didn’t lie under OATH!

    Matt — re: The Gerry Studds case; the age of consent in DC at the time was 17, so as unsavory the image of a Congressman turning the page in DC, it was legal and by all accounts, consensual. And, unlike the many hypocrites on the Right, Studds was an openly gay Congressman who voted time and again for GLBT rights and PRo-GLBT legislation. I can’t say that about Larry Craig or Mark Foley. Foley’s IMs and emails were unwanted by the male pages which falls into the category of sexual harrassment.

  25. RHackett
    December 7, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Jubal. Bueller. Any one?

  26. Dan Chmielewski
    December 9, 2007 at 11:12 am

    Wonkette comments on this case here: http://wonkette.com/politics/dickcember/dickcember-wind-is-picking-up-331231.php

    Read the comments after the post; and Wonkette did call it a Republican sex scandal.

Comments are closed.