Legislator's ex-aide pleads guilty to sex with boys
December 05, 2007|By LARRY WELBORN
SANTA ANA - While his mother cried in the courtroom gallery, a former aide to an Orange County congressman stood between his two lawyers Wednesday and admitted molesting two boys.
Jeffrey Ray Nielsen's admission came nine months after he insisted in testimony during his first trial that he never had sex, exposed himself, kissed, or touched one of the boys. That case ended with a hung jury.
Since then, the Orange County District Attorney's Office filed a second case against Nielsen, charging him with molesting a Virginia teenager he met in 1994 when he was an aide in Washington, D.C., to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach.
Nielsen decided to plead guilty to molesting both boys - and accept a three-year prison sentence - rather than risk convictions during a second trial. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison had he been convicted on all counts.
Now he must serve at least 80 percent of the three-year term, and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Nielsen, who is also a lawyer, declined to comment after the court hearing. He quickly walked into the courthouse elevator with his mother and father and a friend.
Defense attorney Paul S. Meyer would only say, "We felt it was time to resolve this case."
Nielsen will remain free on $10,000 bail until Jan. 14, when he will check into the Del Amo Hospital, a Los Angeles County facility that specializes in treatment of sex offenders. It is the same facility that housed former Superior Court Judge Ronald Kline after he was charged with possession of child pornography. Kline is now serving time in a federal prison.
Superior Court Judge David A. Thompson scheduled Nielsen's sentencing for April 18. But that hearing will likely be moved up if Nielsen completes the in-house treatment program earlier.
Besides a stint as a legislative aide for Rohrabacher, Nielsen also worked on an Assembly campaign of Scott Baugh, now the Republican Party chairman in Orange County, and he was given recommendations to University of Southern California law school by Orange County Republican activists Tom Fuentes and Michael Schroeder.
His father, Ben, is a former Fountain Valley mayor, and Jeffrey Nielsen also worked for a brief time as an intern in the Orange County District Attorney's Office.