Taliban Dana, the Party Chairman and the Child Rapist

As you have no doubt read here on the Liberal OC and elsewhere Jeffrey Neilsen, the son of former Fountain Valley Mayor Ben Neilsen and a former aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday for being a child rapist.  This story is not news to anyone that reads the OC Weekly, R. Scott Moxley has almost exclusively covered the story in the local media.  What comes as a shock to me is how local GOP operatives want to claim that this story should not be tied to the local party in any way and that Rohrabacher should not face any scrutiny about it.

Matt Cunningham (aka Jubal) of Red County responded to Andrew Davey’s post on this subject by saying, “Do you honestly believe Dana Rohrabacher had any clue about Jeff Nielsen’s behavior?”.  This was the same response that Rohrabacher gave to the OC Register in a November 2006 article about the child rapist Neilsen.  Rohrabacher claimed that “he had no idea what Nielsen did in his personal life”.  I guess they feel that by claiming ignorance Taliban Dana should be absolved completely.  Not so fast fellas.

As Moxley pointed out in a November 2006 Weekly Article, “Rohrabacher vouched for Nielsen’s character in a personal letter of recommendation he wrote to get his hand-picked pal into USC’s law school”.  Why would someone vouch for a person’s character if they had “no idea” what they did in their “personal life”?  How can you vouch for the character of somebody that you don’t know what their character is?  Either Rohrabacher lied about knowing anything about Neilsen’s personal life or he lied when he vouched for his character in that letter of recommendation to USC.

This would not be the first time that Taliban Dana wasn’t forthcoming with the truth about his relationship with the child rapist Neilsen.  In the same November 2006 Register article Taliban Dana downplayed Neilsen’s employment by saying that, “Nielsen worked for him for a few months after Nielsen graduated from college.”  However it is a well known fact that, as Moxley pointed out, “Rohrabacher handpicked Nielsen to relocate from Orange County to Virginia and serve as his congressional aide in D.C.”.  It was during this time that Neilsen repeatedly raped and molested a 13-year old Virginia boy.

The child rapist also maintained close ties to Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh.  Baugh and Neilsen hung out, partied and even traveled together.  Baugh, while the minority leader in the state assembly, like Taliban Dana employed Neilsen as an aide.  It was Baugh that managed to get the child rapist a job at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips a powerfully connected law firm.  And when Jeffy was arrested in 2003 it was Scott Baugh that received the first phone call from Neilsen.

Baugh and Rohrabacher aren’t the only members of the party leadership to show “love” for the child rapist.  DA “Tony Rack” hired him to work as a prosecution analyst and Mike Schroeder, like Taliban Dana, wrote him a letter of recommendation.  Moxley has extensively covered all this but I think it bears repeating.

Again for most of us this is just a rehash, but for those who don’t know the story I would hope that you would want to educate yourselves to the truth.  Here are the links to Moxley’s stories on this:  10/6/05, 9/28/06, 10/4/06, 11/5/06, 3/25/08.

To be clear I do not blame the local Republican Party for the actions of Jeffrey Neilsen and I don’t believe that his being a child rapist has anything to do with his being a Republican.  I do however find it quite disingenuous for folks to now claim that they barely knew Neilsen and that they had no way of knowing what he did in his personal life.  All the evidence points to the contrary.  If what the GOP leaders claim is the truth, they sure went way out of their way to help someone they barely knew or knew anything about.  That just doesn’t pass the smell test.

 

  42 comments for “Taliban Dana, the Party Chairman and the Child Rapist

  1. March 26, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    “Rohrabacher vouched for Nielsen’s character in a personal letter of recommendation he wrote to get his hand-picked pal into USC’s law school”. Why would someone vouch for a person’s character if they had “no idea” what they did in their “personal life”? How can you vouch for the character of somebody that you don’t know what their character is? Either Rohrabacher lied about knowing anything about Neilsen’s personal life or he lied when he vouched for his character in that letter of recommendation to USC

    Trying to get maximum traffic/comment mileage out of this one, eh Sean?

    First, neither you nor I have seen this letter. I have no idea, other than Scott’s description, if in it Dana said ‘I vouch for Jeff Nielsen’s character.’

    But let’s say he did. You then proceed to set up a false dichotomy in which either choice means Dana is a liar. How convenient.

    Let’s be realistic. When writing a letter of recommendation, one can’t possibly know everything about the person one is recommending. You make the recommendation based on your interaction with and observations of that person in action.

    Sean, have you — or any of the others on this blog who think Danna should somehow have known — ever recommended someone for a job or a position? If so, can any of you honestly say you had a thorough knowledge of every aspect of that person’s life, secret or otherwise?

    Frankly, I think this is driven by sheer animosity toward Dana Rohrabacher, and if were a Loretta Sanchez staffer we were talking about, there’d be none of this “She should have known! How could she not have known? She’s a liar for vouching for his character!” blather.

  2. March 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    One more thing, Sean: how much do you know about the sexual activities of your co-workers or subordinates?

  3. March 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Jubal,

    Giving a job reference and vouching for someones character are two different things. I would recommend someone for a job if asked about their work habits and they were worthy. I would not vouch for someones character if I did not really know them as Dana claims is the case with Neilsen.

    I don’t know anything about them. That’s why I wouldn’t write a character letter on their behalf. I don’t know them as well as Scott Baugh knows Jeffy. I have never partied or traveled with them as Scott did with the child rapist.

  4. Flowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    LOL Sean you are such a dick! Why in the hell would they NOT distance themselves from a child preditor after learning the news? Who in their right mind wouldn’t? I probably would have beaten the crap out of him & then denied it.

    thanks for the disclaimer at the end btw.

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    March 26, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Actually Matt, why would you write a reference letter for someone you didn’t know well. I carefully weigh each request for a reference and sometimes I say “no.”

    As far as my co-workers extracurricular activities go, well, we’re all friends so let’s just say I have a pretty good idea.

  6. March 26, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Sean:

    You’re assuming you can separate someone’s character from how they work. I’d submit they’re are inextricable, and that you are making a false distinction. How a person works is a reflection of their character, and when you write such a letter of recommendation you are, in some form, vouching for their character as far as you can discern it.

  7. Bob
    March 26, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Only the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the hearts on men.

    The Shadow and Dan. Exactly who knows who is a child molester? Does the fact that you’re gay and have stuffed animals like Neilson make you a child rapist? The molester is your uncle, neighbor, priest, teacher, grandparent all had a personal reference.

    What exactly did Dana know and when? Did he know Neilson was gay and hiding it? We all know closeted gay men are molesters right??? You want to fry Dana for not knowing the most hidden aspect of someone’s personal (and criminal) life but you want to give a pass to Obama on Wright?

    This is the lowest and most stupid guilt by association smears. I would say “your above this” but I don’t think you are.

  8. March 26, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    The child rapist also maintained close ties to Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh. Baugh and Neilsen hung out, partied and even traveled together. Baugh, while the minority leader in the state assembly, like Taliban Dana employed Neilsen as an aide. It was Baugh that managed to get the child rapist a job at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips a powerfully connected law firm. And when Jeffy was arrested in 2003 it was Scott Baugh that received the first phone call from Neilsen.

    Meaning what?

    Or is that just a sneaky, guilt-by-association way of saying “Baugh knew!” without actually having to say it?

    Again, Sean — how much do you know about the private lives of any of your co-workers and subordinates, past and present? Unless you can say you have a thorough knowledge of all their personal, private habits, nasty and otherwise, perhaps you should refrain from casting stones at others for not having that same knowledge.

  9. Dan Chmielewski
    March 26, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Bob –
    I am only saying Letters of Recommendation are something a writer should give careful consideration to, oitherwise, the recommendation isn”t worth very much and sometimes, you should say “no” if the person doesn’t warrant your recommendation. And that’s all I am saying.

  10. Bob
    March 26, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    And exactly how do you KNOW someone is a childmolester? What to the look like talk like? Let me know, I wouldn’t want to give one my reconmendation.

  11. Andrew Davey
    March 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Matt/Jubal-

    Here you go again. It doesn’t really seem like you can refute all the facts cited in Sean’s story, so now you’re saying Dana & Scott vouched for Nielsen’s character without even knowing what Nielsen’s character was really made of… HUH?! Does that even make sense?

  12. Steven Greenhut
    March 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    You forget, Jubal, this isn’t theliberalOC so much as the democraticpartisanOC — it’s a world where Democrats are always decent and pure, and where Republicans are always pure evil! You know that had the roles been different, and this had been an aide to a Democratic congressman that the folks on this site would be defending the congressman against such fact-lacking arguments.

    Dan, Sean, et al., do you really think that GOP officials knew that this guy was a child molester and hid it? I know I’ve given references to people without knowing (or wanting to know) a thing about their sexual activities. You vouch for what you reasonably can be expected to know. I know, but Dana is a Republican, so he must be hiding something! There must be something nefarious going on because … Republicans are evil and Democrats are good. Sex criminals aren’t usually open about their tendencies. This is different from, say, the church scandal where some church leaders knew about what some priests were doing — but moved them to other parishes anyway.

    And this Taliban Dana stuff is exactly the same charge Dornan leveled against Dana when Dornan challenged him in the GOP primary. For “liberals,” you sound a lot like right-wing kooks.

  13. Andrew Davey
    March 26, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Bob-

    Try reading Moxley’s articles. He shows us why it’s too dangerous to turn a blind eye to some nasty warning signs.

  14. Flowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Note to self – next recommendation letter I write MUST include:

    I do not have any knowledge that “the person I am recommending” is a child molestor.

  15. Dan Chmielewski
    March 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Steve –
    I don’t know what Dana knew about this guy; I’m only saying I have a, a-hem, conservative approach to recommending people in writing. That’s it.

  16. March 26, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Jubal,

    The child rapist was much more than a “co-worker” or “subordinate” to Scott Baugh. They were close friends. They hung out together. They partied together. They traveled together.

    Baugh was the first person Neilsen called after he was arrested. Baugh had to know more about Jeffy than I know about my co-workers.

    I know what kind of taste in woman my friends have. I am sure that Scott had to have an inkling that Jeffy had a thing for “young” men. I am not saying that he knew he was a child rapist or a pedophile, but I am sure he knew he had a thing for “younger” men.

    Why doesn’t Baugh and company just come clean about what they knew?

  17. March 26, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I think the issue here is that no one for sure can say that Rohrabacher knew about this guys personal issues. I highly doubt anyone in their right mind would hire someone with known tendencies, it makes no sense what-so-ever and sometimes people have the ability to hide exactly who they are to all around them.

    Families have been known to enable abhorrent behavior for many reasons, all wrong, either by trying to protect their child or protect the family name. Obviously, we can’t know this either! No one can say that anyone was aware of Neilson’s behavior.

    Sadly children were seriously abused, something that can never be taken back and Neilson is being punished. But I really would rather give everyone the benefit of the doubt regarding this issue unless there is concrete evidence that they in any way turned their backs on what Neilson was doing.

    Just my 2 cents.

  18. Flowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Sean because it is none of anyones business if Scott knew he was gay. And IF he knew he was gay, how does that even come close to that he should have thought he was a molestor? Are you saying that because he was gay and perhaps (as you are only speculating) liked younger men that he MUST have been a molestor and everyone should have known? Is that rue for all gay men Sean? You are diggin yourself a hole here.

  19. Steven Greenhut
    March 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Flowerszzz:
    You keep forgetting the rule of the site. If Republicans suggest such things they are homophobes, but if Democrats say such things that’s OK because … Democrats are pure and good and Republicans are nasty and evil. I admit that a simple-minded partisan world is a lot easier to understand than the world we live in!

  20. March 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    “You know that had the roles been different, and this had been an aide to a Democratic congressman that the folks on this site would be defending the congressman against such fact-lacking arguments.”

    “If” and “buts” and if my aunt had nuts she’d be my uncle. The fact of the matter is that the child rapist was an aide to and a close friend of prominent Republican party officials. We can play “what if” scenarios all day, but lets stick to “what is” instead.

    Mr. Greenhut I don’t believe they “knew” he was a child rapist, but the should have seen the signs that something might have been amiss. These folks deny they knew he was gay until he publicly came out of the closet. I don’t believe it for a minute.

    And before you try and twist this into to me criticizing them for having a gay friend let me say I am not saying their is anything wrong with that. I do find it hypocritical of these folks to be such vile homophobes and yet surround themselves with closeted gay men. I am sure there are still a few in that closet that Neilsen exited.

    They all knew he was gay, but because the Republican Party has such a gay bashing agenda they have to deny it. How would it have looked to the party faithful if a good “family values” conservative like Taliban Dana admitted to bringing a gay man to Washington to be his aide? Gosh the righties might have been up in arms.

    So instead the hypocrites deny knowing that Neilsen was gay. What a crock.

  21. March 26, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    “Are you saying that because he was gay and perhaps (as you are only speculating) liked younger men that he MUST have been a molestor and everyone should have known? Is that rue for all gay men Sean?”

    I am not saying that at all Flowerszzz, but that is exactly what Dana said when it comes to allowing gay Boy Scout leaders. He said that gays should not be allowed to be Scout leaders because they might molest the little boys.

  22. Flowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I hear ya steve….if the tables were turned….

    Well sean last I checked it was a free country and if Dana wants to believe that Gay boyscout leaders should not be allowed he has everyright to think and say it….I dont ever recall hearing him say they would molest anyone.

    I worked with a guy for years, and he was totally bud at work, and I knew he was gay…he knew he was gay but he would never admit it. Helk we all knew he was gay, even the boss……but that does not mean he was or is or ever will be a molestor. But I can not say with all certainty that he wasn’t…I knew nothing of his personal life.

    So if we have an employee or co-worker that we suspect is gay, are we to a) dig into their personal lives and find out if they molest kids; b)not write them recommendation letters because we suspect they are gay and could be molestors; or c) write the letter but put the disclaimer I mentioned above in an earlier post?

  23. jose s.
    March 26, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    instead of wondering who knew what and when all of you should be pissed off at what a slap on the hand this creep got. three years is nothing.

  24. March 26, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    “an employee or co-worker that we suspect is gay”

    Neilsen was not just an employee or co-worker to Rohrabacher and Baugh. He was a friend and in the case of Baugh a close friend.

  25. March 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Jose,

    I agree he got off easy. As I said yesterday, they should hang him by his balls.

    We can only hope that he receives some jailhouse justice from those in general population. Most folks in prison don’t take too kindly to child rapists.

  26. Bob
    March 26, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    “it’s too dangerous to turn a blind eye to some nasty warning ”

    Again what are the ‘nasty warnings’ that were made known to Dana?

    “Baugh had to know more about Jeffy than I know about my co-workers.” Again what was known?

    Here’s the answer from Dan – “I don’t know what Dana knew about this.”

    I know what an anti-Semite and racist sounds like. If you knew someone for 20 years like Obama knew Wright would you still chose him to be your personal “spiritual Leader” What’s harder to know about evil in one’s heart?

    How long did they know Neilson?

    This entire asinine charge of guilt cheapens the serious issue of molesters by implying that you can ‘spot them’ in a crowd or even if they’re a family member (which most are). By no stretch of the imagination would Baugh or Dana give a referral to someone they knew where molesting young boys. This is THE cheapest political attack ever.

  27. Flowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    OK Sean you are like talking to a brick wall on this…..please see my above comments on whose business it is if anyone knew he was gay in the first place.

    You are a bit like Art with the bait n switch stuff – no wonder he gets your goat so badly.

  28. March 26, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    “whose business it is if anyone knew he was gay in the first place”

    My question is what would their supporters in the “family values” wing of the party think? Dana has a long history of gay bashing rhetoric and a horrible voting record when it comes to gay rights. He plays the gay basher card to get support and then pals around with and hires a gay man. What a hypocrite! James Dobson would be real angry.

  29. Dan Chmielewski
    March 26, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Bob — with all due respect, direct your venom at Sean for this post. My point is quite simply you shouldn’t write a reference letter or letter or recommendation for someone unless you know that person and that person’s chracter well. I am frugal with my own recommendations. I will write letters of appreciation or thanks for a particular job well done but I am only addressing the notion that recommendation letters should be sincere, thoughful and genuine. Did Dana’s letter of recommendation achieve this standard which I have set for my self? I don’t know. My contribution to this string is my position on letters of reference. If you’ve implied anything else from me, my apologies.

  30. FLowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Well brick wall I strongly suggest that you write a sternly worded letter to Dana to get to the bottom of this!

  31. March 26, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    “I strongly suggest that you write a sternly worded letter to Dana”

    Nah! I’ll just cast my vote for Debbie Cook and hope that enough others do as well. Then we’ll be rid of the hypocrite once and for all.

  32. R. Scott Moxley
    March 26, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    To my friend Steven Greenhut:

    It might be easy to sit back and mock questions about Rohrabacher’s bizarre, old Tailban ties (as you’ve done here), but that once again ignores reality. Dana championed the Taliban during the Clinton Administration. He said on the record that their image as anti-women, anti-USA monsters was a liberal media fiction. He suggested they’d bring stability and peace to the region. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. So yeah, “Taliban Dana” fits. To deny this sorry history is what’s “kooky.”

    Regards,

    RSM

  33. FLowerszzz
    March 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Good for you Sean….luckily with the redistricting a few years back I no longer have to decide in that district.

  34. March 26, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Flowerszzz,

    Unfortunately because of that redistricting I got stuck in Dana’s district. Loretta was my Rep and I was thrilled. Now I am not so happy with my Congressman. Damn redistricting!!

  35. March 26, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    The child rapist was much more than a “co-worker” or “subordinate” to Scott Baugh. They were close friends. They hung out together. They partied together. They traveled together.

    Baugh was the first person Neilsen called after he was arrested. Baugh had to know more about Jeffy than I know about my co-workers.

    I didn’t know you were such a confidante of Scott and Jeff that you know exactly the nature of their relationship, how close they were and how much time they spend together.

    How did you come about this knowledge?

  36. March 26, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    “…but I am sure he knew he had a thing for “younger” men.”

    Just how do you know that Sean? Really, I’m curious how you came about these supernatural powers of yours.

    Why doesn’t Baugh and company just come clean about what they knew?

    Maybe when you admit you puffing out conjecture, innuendo and speculation, and that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  37. Bladerunner
    March 26, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    Props to heather for having the best take. Seriously, what politician would hire a guy if he knew the employee was doing what neilson was doing? its so counterintuitive that even crazy Dana wouldn’t go that far. Heather’s right–he deserves the benefit of the doubt, just what we would ask for loretta if it was someone on her staff.

    I’ve written somewhere between 5-6 letters of recommendations for college or professional school applications where I referred t the persons character. I knew these people in either professional , social or political venues but I have to say, only one did I happen to know anything about the person’s sexual activities. The others I had no clue whether they were gay or straight, Don Juan or the 22 year old virgin, or whether they criminally assaulted children. I don’t think it’s a requirement to know someone’s private sexual life in order to say the persons is of good character.

    Look, the story has legs because Neilson was on Rohrbacher’s staff and Rohrbacher–and the California GOP–have demagogued gay issues for quite some time. But to draw a link(without more) that Dana knew about Neilson’s activities with young boys or that somehow the GOP and Dana were supporting Neilson’s wretched activities is just so wrong.

  38. March 27, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Bladerunner – Thank you. I think this is one of those cases where extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

  39. Bob
    March 27, 2008 at 10:10 am

    Dan –

    “you know that person and that person’s chracter well.”

    Are we to blame EVERY school principle because they hired a teacher who molested a student?

    You must have extra super powers of perception. If only more people were as acute as you there won’t be any molestations because we could spot them.

    You should take out an ad in the National Inquirer for a psychic hotline where you’re able to peer into the black hearts of men and expose their secret perversions. To save money we could scrap the state parole board and just have convicts meet with you for a few hours.

    Thank’s for the education on recommending a homosexual for a hire or admission. Here’s what I’ve learned from liberals posting on this blog.

    There are obvious ‘signs’ that someone is a child molester and you should never recommend someone who displays them. The signs; Gay men, unlike straight men who profess to be attracted to ‘younger men’ are child molesters. If a gay man isn’t forth coming about his sexuality he is a child molester.

    Congratulations on advancing them most anti gay stereotypes ever.

  40. Dan Chmielewski
    March 27, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Bob –
    Let me state this again; my commentary here is about drafting letters of recommendation. I only do so for people I know very well. I have at times refused a request to write a reference leter. It has zero to do with whater ot not someone is gay, straight or whatever. All I am saying is Dana either knows his former staffer well enough to write a letter if reference or Dana’s letters of reference don’t mean a lot if he writes one for anyone who asks. That is it. I don’t know where you get off that I am perpetuating stereotypes. Character is a lot more than what a person’s sexual orientation happens to be. Its how they approach their jobs, are they helpful to others, am I aware of particular volunteer work

    The fact of the matter, straight men are far more likely to be pedophiles than Gay men are.

  41. Bob
    March 27, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Here’s the big smear from Moxly and repeated on this blog –

    “Fairy Tale #2: Rohrabacher said he had no idea what Nielsen did in his personal life.” What is the information that you have that Dana knew what Nielson did in his personal life!!!!!? Say what goes against the ‘fairy tale’ or be a man an apologize.

    This is the absolute cheapest lowest form of political smear.

    Dan:

    You are correct that numerically there are more ‘heterosexuals’ who comment molestations that than ‘homosexuals’ but not statistically. Here are a few studies. You’ll cut and paste a few to refute this no doubt.

    On its face your comment is as ridiculous as saying that annually heterosexual men have more sexual partners than homosexual. In every way homosexual men are engaging in sex more than their heterosexual counterparts. Unfortunately its true in the realm of pedophilia.

    In 1991, of the 100 child molesters at the Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons, a third were heterosexual, a third were bisexual, and a third were homosexual. (Dr. Raymond Knight, “Differential Prevalence of Personality Disorders in Rapists and Child Molesters,” Eastern Psychological Association Conference, New York, April 12, 1991)
    Drs. Freund and Heasman of the Clark Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto reviewed two studies on child molesters and calculated that 34% and 32% of the sex offenders were homosexual. In cases these doctors had handled, 36% of the molesters were homosexuals. (Freund, K. “Pedophilia and Heterosexuality vs. Homosexuality,” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 1984; 10:193-200

  42. Dan Chmielewskidch
    March 27, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Bob –
    On point #1, ask Moxley. I didn’t report the story. He knows it as well as anybody.

    My comment about heterosexual men being more likely to commit pedophilia is accurate.

    My entire participation is this string is really about the notion of writing letters of recommendation and my personal philosophy about it. I rarely write them and wehn I do, it is because I know the person well enough to ascertain what I believe is their good chracter. Therefore, my recommendation holds some value. I applied this premise to Congresman Rohrabacher; either his letters of reference are so plentiful that they are not worth much or he so rare that he knows the chracter of the person he is writing for.

    That’s it.

    If you read any of the archieves here, you will discover I am a big advocate for GLTB, Gay Marriage, and equal rights.

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