Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the once-cocky Orange County political activist who espoused conservative principles while molesting underaged boys, will enter a pre-prison program in the coming weeks with one more headache: One of his victims has filed a civil lawsuit seeking $1.35 million.
The plaintiff, whom we'll call John Doe, filed the suit in late December in Fairfax County, Virginia. It was there, in the city of Falls Church, in 1994 and 1995, that Nielsen used his positions as an aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and a church youth counselor to rent a room from a Virginia family with a 13-year-old son, Doe. The family had no clue that Nielsen, a Bible thumper with friends in high places, was a clever sexual predator interested in sleeping with middle-school and high-school boys.
"Beginning immediately after he moved into Doe's family home, Nielsen took a special interest in Doe," according to attorney Stephen C. Swain. "Nielsen mentored Doe through youth counseling, invoked spirituality as a way to build trust and very quickly groomed Doe for a sexual relationship."
Swain claims that Nielsen told the boy, then in the seventh grade, that touching, kissing and fondling were "normal" acts between men and boys. Nielsen soon routinely engaged in public and private sex acts with the boy, the suit alleges.
"Nielsen frequently subjected Doe to humiliating and degrading hand holding, kissing, hugging-and masturbation and oral sex in public restrooms and other public places," according to Swain.
A now-married Doe says Nielsen used brainwashing techniques that, along with the acts themselves, remain painful. He's suffered "great emotional distress," he says, resulting in Doe being forced to pay medical and counseling expenses.
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The Weekly first reported Doe's tale in September 2006. Nielsen—who, at the time, faced criminal charges for repeatedly molesting a Westminster High School freshman—angrily denied any pedophile conduct. Indeed, the man who keeps stuffed animals on his bed called the allegations "delusional" and the Weekly part of a liberal conspiracy to frame him because of his friendship with Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh, chairman of the Orange County Republican Party. Last March, a Newport Beach jury deadlocked after Nielsen's lawyer, Paul S. Meyer, savagely attacked the teenage victim on the witness stand while Nielsen posed as a generous, caring Christian with lofty ideals about mentoring troubled youth. It didn't help that before the trial, a prosecutor incredibly allowed the statute of limitations to expire on more than 1,000 man-boy sex images Nielsen possessed.
But the case grew stronger when prosecutors filed a second molestation case based in part on the Virginia boy's statements to the Weekly. In December, after four years of angry denials, Nielsen finally admitted to molesting both youngsters. In exchange, he won a reduced prison sentence of three years, though he will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. Punishment will begin as soon as Nielsen, a Dahnke Cruz Law Group lawyer who lives in Ladera Ranch, completes his pre-prison counseling at a Los Angeles County mental-health facility.
Meyer did not respond to requests for a comment.