Boy Crazy

The sad chronicles of a man who wants a boy to love him

The Orange County District Attorney's Office claims that sex-crime prosecutions are a top priority. So why is one accused serial child molester still free and awaiting trial after nearly four years?

One answer might be connections. Jeffrey Ray Nielsen is not merely a former intern in the DA's office. He's a prominent Republican activist in a county controlled by the Republican Party, a man with close ties to the former and current heads of that party; Huntington Beach Congressman Dana Rohrabacher; and Michael Schroeder, adviser to the county's top law enforcement officials, DA Tony Rackauckas and Sheriff Mike Carona.

Both Rohrabacher and Schroeder want this known: there is no direct evidence that anyone has interfered with the case. But chronic delays in the case have raised courthouse suspicions. The trial, which already has been delayed a whopping 42 months, was most recently set for mid-December. But at a Nov. 17 hearing—conducted mostly in whispers at the judge's bench—both Nielsen defense lawyers and the prosecution were granted yet another delay. The tentative trial date is now Jan. 22.

When Superior Court Judge Gary Paer asked Nielsen if he agreed to postpone his trial once again, Nielsen quickly replied, "Yes, I do, your honor." It's doubtful Nielsen will ever answer otherwise. The 36-year-old isn't just free from a potential prison cell—he still works at a prestigious Irvine law firm, drives a late-model BMW, lives comfortably in a Ladera Ranch townhouse and maintains a MySpace.com account where he lists numerous teenage boys as online friends.

That sort of liberty is hard to square with the Jeffrey Nielsen who emerges in a series of letters he wrote in the mid-1990s to "Billy," a young boy in Northern Virginia.

Billy's parents rented a spare bedroom to Nielsen, whom they'd met at their church. The family is Christian and conservative, and Nielsen seemed like their kind of guy. His father was a high-ranking Republican and the mayor of Fountain Valley, and Nielsen himself worked as an aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the congressman's Washington D.C. office. Nielsen preached the Bible, and berated liberals and homosexuals alike.

But once inside the Virginia house, Nielsen quietly began an intense romantic relationship with Billy (not his real name). According to interviews Billy gave the Weekly and county detectives in August and September, Nielsen used Billy as his sex partner at a time when the boy attended the seventh and eighth grades, discouraged Billy's budding interest in girls and insisted that he'd grow up to be gay.

"He tried to brainwash me," says Billy, who is now married. "He was very controlling."

Nielsen has refused to talk to the media or police about his relationship with Billy. In court papers, he has dismissed the stories as "rumor" and "speculation," hinted that Billy is "delusional" and demanded that Billy not be allowed to testify in an upcoming trial.

That trial deals with charges closer to home. After Orange County Republican Party boss and former Assemblyman Scott Baugh got him a job at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Nielsen was arrested in 2003 for allegedly molesting a Westminster High School freshman boy and possessing a huge, illegal cache of man-boy pornography.

Nielsen defense lawyer Paul Meyer says that if Billy is allowed to testify in the upcoming Westminster case, he will "have to spend considerable time refuting the testimony by establishing a motive to fabricate a molestation claim."

Meyer may face a hurdle: Nielsen's own words.

In late 1996, Nielsen received personal character references from Rohrabacher and California GOP bigwigs Schroeder and Tom Fuentes to attend USC Law School. Nielsen moved from Virginia back to California. But living apart from the boy apparently tortured the then-25-year-old man. He documented his obsession—including demanding love from Billy—in a series of letters to a kid entering the ninth grade. Here are excerpts:

9/15/95, 1 p.m. (Pacific)

Dear Billy,

I called you yesterday after 3 p.m., but your sister said you weren't at home. I also called you the day before that and left a message for you. Did you get either message? Is something wrong? You should get my B-day card to you a few days before you get this. I hope you like the Cal Ripken card I sent you.

[. . .]

I promise that I will send you all of our future press clippings for USC games. I didn't send you the first ones because I thought that after not hearing from you or your family that you guys didn't want to talk to me at all. I still think that some people there might not like me too much. But, I hope that you write me A LOT, so we can stay in close touch. I miss you very much, and I think of you a lot. I'm always praying for you. Please try to use all 40 of the stamps that I gave you before next summer (to write me with). I'll give you some more then.

[. . .]

I've been so busy with my LSATs and trying to help get the campaign I'm working on going. The guy we're working for is Scott Baugh. He's a young lawyer running for the Assembly that we're recalling that lady Doris Allen from. If he wins, I might be able to get a job in his district office in Fountain Valley or Huntington Beach.

[. . .]

Are you allowed to call and write me? I worry because you haven't returned either of my calls this week. If there is a problem, just let me know so I won't wonder and be left in suspense.

[. . .]

If you get this around your b-day, then HAPPY B-DAY!

[. . .]

Also, remember if you are allowed to write and call, then communication is a two-way street. If you want to write or call, then do so. I worry that you won't be allowed to or that you will just forget me after a while, so don't let me worry so much, little guy. Keep in touch [smiley face]

[. . .]

Are you allowed to come out next summer to visit me? If so, then when can you come? Please let me know. I am waiting for you to call me because when we last talked you said you would call in 3-4 days. Also, I called you twice after then and I haven't heard from you yet. So, if you get this letter and you haven't called yet, then you can bet that I am concerned.

Love,

Jeff

9/24, 11:50 p.m. (Pacific)

Hi Billy,

It's late. You're undoubtedly asleep by now. Enclosed are the following to keep you briefed on USC football this fall. (I don't want to say 'USC domination' or anything like that because I may jinx 'SC and make them lose to Notre Lame or UCLA.

[. . .]

Note: I am sending you this before I get your letter. I also have not opened up the package. I will do that on my birthday. I will write you right after receiving your letter, also [smiley face].

[. . .]

I hope that you had a great B-day. I really miss you and not spending it out there with you. I can't wait to see you again! Hopefully, at New Years this year.

[. . .]

Somehow, I always find a way to get myself into the strangest positions. Anyways, I try to forget all of that by looking forward to seeing you again. I am praying for you in school and in everything else. Hang in there. Even though you may not always think so, I am here for you to lean on. 2,600 miles is not going to keep me from being there for you, LITTLE GUY-NEVER!! [smiley face]. So smile. And I know that I've got you to talk to also.

[. . .]

I love you. Have a happy day, night, etc. I can't wait to see you!! I hope soon.

Love,

Jeff

10/1

Billy,

When you write me, why don't you write letters this long? I ask you tons of questions in my letters to you that you don't answer. Anyway, I still haven't received your B-day card, but I got your letter yesterday. How is band? How do you feel about your chances to get onto the basketball team? How do you feel about high school now? How do you feel about me not being around anymore? Are you used to it? I figured that after a while, others would get you to forget about me enough to not miss me anymore.

[. . .]

Work on the campaign has been very time consuming. I have done nothing but campaign stuff every day for two weeks now. In fact, between LSAT classes and work, I haven't gone to church once since I've been out here. Speaking of church, how's my favorite church? Has anyone there come up to you and said anything lately? I'm sure they will, considering that I gave Yates my opinion about what I know they're up to. Don't get yourself caught in the middle of a bunch of hypocrites. They are not Christians.

[. . .]

I hope you are doing well in high school. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the alcohol, trouble-making, sex etc. That is so common in high schools now. It's just not worth it. It may seem like fun, but you will pay for it later, no matter how harmless it may seem now. I can't be there to watch you, and I will not become angry if I learn you have done something bad, so please be honest with me even though I know you don't want to because you think that telling me what you're up to will make me think less of you. I won't. But you've got to trust me, and don't trust anybody who tries to convince you that 'making out,' having sex, doing drugs, drinking, getting into a car with a drunk driver etc is cool. It's not. It's stupid.

[. . .]

I miss you tons. Please, please, please write me when you get this. Send me a letter in a regular envelope, and try to write a longer letter. Just let your pen flow.

Love,

Jeff

10/9

Billy,

Well, it's 10:20 a.m. and I'm here at the Scott Baugh for Assembly campaign headquarters. I just spoke with you a little while ago. I hope that you understand that I wouldn't get angry at you for going to the mall or Reston Town Center. If you were to do something wrong there, I wouldn't be happy, but neither would your parents. Billy, I'm telling you, don't do anything now that you're going to regret later. If you think it's time of us to stop communicating, then the ball is in your court. I know you would say that you want to stay in touch, but I can't keep in touch if you don't want to be honest with me. If you have a reason for not being honest with me, then let's talk about it. You deserve to have your own life and to make whatever choices you wish. You know that I care about you very much. Just look around your room at everything I have bought for you. Think about all that I've done for you. Billy, I don't want to run your life like others who will remain nameless. I just want to have an honest relationship with you. If you feel that is not possible, the decision is yours to make.

[. . .]

Billy, even if you do not want to keep in touch with me or continue our relationship, please please don't lie like you have been. It's already hurt me enough. You may hurt someone you care about more than me.

[. . .]

I should not have written you this letter today. You said that today (Monday) you would be writing me a letter! Have you? I don't know if you like me to write or if you want me to send you these USC news clips. But, I won't send them anymore if you won't write me. I gave you plenty stamps and envelopes. I don't know what else it takes. Unless, that is, that you have decided that there are other things in your life more important than continuing a relationship with me. If that is the case, then I have been used by you. I hope that you will think about this and be honest with me. I also hope that—if we are to continue our relationship—you will be able to come visit for New Years. USC is almost guaranteed to be in the Rose Bowl and I'd love for you to come to the game with me. Anyway, I'd better go. I'm running out of paper. If you write, please don't be brief. I miss you very much. I hope you miss me too.

Love,

Jeff

10/15, 10:30 p.m.

Billy,

Enclosed are the usual press clips for your enjoyment. USC, 6-0. And, guess what? None of it will mean anything unless we beat Notre LAME and UCLA. You will probably get this before the N.D. game this Saturday, so remember to watch the game if you have time.

[. . .]

So, here's a rundown of what is going on out here in Calif! The weather is cooling down a little. It's called an "Indian Fall" out here. That is cool, crisp nights and mild, warm days. It is dry.

[. . .]

With me, everything is hectic right now. The campaign is really getting into full swing. I walked precincts with the candidate, Scott Baugh, today. We knocked on doors and talked to people while dropping off literature. We must have gone to 200+ houses. My legs feel like they're going to fall off!

[. . .]

My room is finally painted a nice color. You will see when you come out.

[. . .]

I called you Saturday (yesterday) and left a message asking you to beep me this weekend so I would know you were home and I could then call you. But, I didn't hear from you. So, I'll ask you now. You will probably get this letter Wednesday or Thursday. I know you have band Wednesday night. So, page me BEFORE FRIDAY NIGHT (your time). But before you do, please try to work out with your folks if (and when) you can come out for New Years. USC is about an inch away from the Rose Bowl, and the sooner I know you're coming, the sooner I can get you a ticket—'cause they're going fast. Remember, now, I will pay for your airfare. This trip is not going to cost you anything.

[. . .]

I would love to see you again. I hope you would like to see me, too. I miss you lots.

[. . .]

I went to church at Mariners today and the pastor (Kenton) talked about a really cool verse from Proverbs. It says basically 'trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.' Think about that. I did. If you're doing something on the 'wrong path,' look to God. Don't trust in what ANYONE tells you to do. Trust ONLY in God. But, he won't answer your questions unless you read his word ALONE and pray to him ALONE. Only you can do it. High school is full of pitfalls. Stick close to God, Little Guy. Don't get lost in the crowd. Hang in there with your grades; remember they come ahead of social and extra-curricular stuff.

[. . .]

You ARE smart. You can do it. I don't care what anyone says. Well, I best go. I'm about ready to pass out. Remember: page me on my beeper before Friday night your time. I will call you immediately. We need to discuss if you are going to come out for New Years . . . Oh, and WRITE ME, DARN IT! I LOVE YOU TONS! Have a great day, night, whatever it is . . .

Love,

Jeff

PS: The picture of you and me is still up. I hope yours is, too.

10/29

Dear Billy,

It was really nice to get a letter from you and for you to call me. I understand that you are not able to call me as much as I call you. Just tell me when you want me to call. I don't mind being the one doing the calling, as long as you're there to receive the call. In fact, right now as you're reading this—write down on your calendar or make a note to yourself somewhere: I am going to call you on THIS THURSDAY, NOV. 2 at 8:30 PM YOUR TIME. Write it down now… I'll wait. Done? Ok. So, here's what's going on with me. On Friday, Tom Fuentes (the chairman of the OC Republican Party) called me and wanted me to meet him at Macy's at South Coast Plaza. I got there and he bought me a suit. Then he took me to dinner and the sauna at the ritzy Balboa Bay Club. [Name deleted] told me he likes to reward hard-working young Republicans that he likes and he knows are going to go far. It was really rewarding. As you know, I've been working really hard on the Scott Baugh campaign. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 28. The only time I'm not working is when I'm watching a USC game, at church, asleep or writing you . . . or trying to get my law school applications together. I've got both my USC and Chapman applications typed. I'm working on getting all of my Letters of Recommendation together now. I've got Rohrabacher, Flanagan and Fuentes done. Today I found out that this guy who is the state chair of the Republican Party, Mike Schroeder (a friend of Rohrabacher), would also write me a letter of rec. It's really good that he does because he's on the board of trustees at USC Law School.

[. . .]

How was homecoming for you? Did you have fun at dinner? Was it free? How was the dance? What kind of music did they play? I'm just full of questions, aren't I? Well, Big Guy, I can't think of much else to say for now.

[. . .]

Anyway, I hope you had a great Halloween. I'll be at work that night. I'll miss not being with you to make Jack-o-Lanterns, carmel apples and hot apple cider. Have a great day, night, whenever you get this.

[. . .]

Please write me when you get this letter. I'll talk to you when I call this Thursday, Nov. 2. DON'T FORGET. Talk to your folks about a date to visit for summer so you and I can finalize it on Thursday night. I love you lots. Miss you.

Love,

Jeff

11/15

Dear Billy,

It is 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night here. I have not heard from you in some time now. I watched the final show of the London Real World tonight on TV and the people on the show talked about not forgetting each other and not saying goodbye to friends, even though they were headed in different directions. I watched as they said goodbye for now to each other, and I felt bad for not leaving Washington with the same good feelings they all left London with.

[. . .]

I can only guess now that you no longer want anything to do with me. I can only hope that you actually get this letter. You were a big part of my life, Billy; and I was a BIG PART of yours, too. If you feel it is time to end contact between us, I don't want to say goodbye without truly saying goodbye. If you wish to no longer communicate with me, then write me or call. I would like to talk on the phone with you. But I am afraid that someone who doesn't want me to talk to you will always answer, so I haven't called. So, if you think it is time to end our friendship, please let me know. You can call collect if you need to.

[. . .]

Also, I will be sending you your ticket to Calif. immediately after Thanksgiving unless you feel it is time to end our friendship. Your flight is on United, leaving Dulles on June 22 and returning on July 10. It is my Christmas gift to you.

Love,

Jeff

12/20

Dear Billy,

I cannot think of any person I know who I have grown apart from faster than you. I have tried to keep in touch, but it hurts to try and fail to hear back from you. It hurts to know that I don't know anything about you anymore. It hurts to know that you feel negatively towards me. I knew this would happen when I came out here. But I can't help it if your family looks for every excuse they can find to hate me.

[. . .]

I want you to know that I'm doing ok. I'm working in the office of Scott Baugh. He's an assemblyman for California's legislature.

[. . .]

I wish that I wouldn't have to be writing you this card and saying what I am; I wish that we could just get along. I also wish we could see each other again soon.

[. . .]

If you would like to give me a wish on Christmas, please call me on Christmas. It would mean a lot to me.

[. . .]

I miss you a lot, especially at Christmas. I'll be thinking about you. Merry X-mas. Happy New Year.

Love,

Jeff

12/27

Dear Billy,

I forgot to tell you when you called on Christmas that my picture was on the front page of the L.A. Times on Dec. 23. As you can see, I've enclosed the paper for you. So, how do I look? Pretty mean, huh? The story about the picture is titled, "Search of Baugh Home Protested." And it is right below the picture. Scott is the new assemblyman; he's my boss now. The DA thinks Scott did some stuff wrong in his campaign, but I know he didn't. The DA is just after Scott and the more popular Republicans who supported him (like Rohrabacher) because he is trying to cover his own butt because of his responsibility in the OC bankruptcy, and Rohrabacher and other elected Republicans are upset about the abuses that county officials were involved in which led to the bankruptcy.

[. . .]

Speaking of pictures, please send me one of you that you took this year at school.

[. . .]

Jordan told me that you were cut from the basketball team. Don't worry. Look to the next hurdle and jump it with all you've got. Success is not making the team, it is enduring whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

[. . .]

Write me. I love you lots, little guy (you're still smaller than me).

Love,

Jeff

1/5/96

Dear Billy,

On Friday, Sept. 1., at 8:50 a.m. in the usual place (a high school parking lot) to say goodbye, you and I said our farewells. I don't know what you thought at the time, but I knew for some reason that I would not see you again. Rather than being the end of a chapter in our relationship, I knew for some reason that when we said goodbye that morning, it was the end of our relationship. As it looks, I was right in my guess. I did not want it to be the end, but I cannot control you.

I tried to continue our relationship by writing and calling as frequently as I possibly could. I tried to bring you out for New Years to go to the Rose Bowl. Instead you went skiing. I tried to bring you out during the coming summer. Instead you and your parents said you were "too busy." And, just this week, I tried to bring you out for any weekend or holiday you wanted to come out during this winter/spring. Instead your dad said you were not going to be able to see me. He said you were too busy. I think by now I get the point. I sent you a $500 airline ticket for Christmas that I told you was my gift to you. I even sent you and your family TWO Christmas cards. I did not receive a card from either you or your family. You called on Christmas because I asked you to, not because you wanted to. In fact, you have never contacted me since I left unless I have first asked you to. I get the point.

[. . .]

I do not believe that you have any desire to remain in contact with me, given the fact that it is very clear you (and those who have influences over you) dislike me. I am writing to tell you that I do not expect you to contact me anymore. I could tell by the tone of your voice and your response of simply "no" when I asked you if you wanted to say anything to me when I most recently called you that you did not want to talk to me.

[. . .]

This is a difficult letter for me to write. You know that I love you very much. You were the little brother that I never really had. [Note: Nielsen has two younger brothers.] You hold a most important place in my heart, and the memories that I have of you and our time together I will keep near to me for the rest of my life. On the 8th grade picture you gave me of yourself last year, you wrote on the back, "Jeff, I'll always love you, no matter how far away you are. Just think of me and I'll be there. Love, Billy." I will look to that when I think of you.

[. . .]

I will not give you any parting advice because you are probably sick of hearing me tell you what to do. If I am wrong in assuming that you desire our relationship to end, please correct me.

[. . .]

I assume you know USC won the Rose Bowl. Being there was incredible, and I wish you could have joined me. The celebration after the game in the stands was something to remember, and I was down in front with all of the players and the band. I know what I just said about the Rose Bowl does not fit into this letter, but I wanted to share it with you anyway.

[. . .]

If I do not hear from you, Billy, goodbye, little guy. I love you lots. I'll miss you.

Love,

Jeff

PS: I did not send news stories and the pictures in the paper about the Rose Bowl because I did not think you not only did not want to talk to me, but that you certainly did not want me sending you anything like that. I have still saved them for you, though, if you want them.

For more on Jeffrey Nielsen, please see the following from our archives: "NAMBLA Fantasy," "'Our Thing,'" and " Accused GOP Pedophile Ties DA to Blackmail Plot."


rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com

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