Michelle Holden Given Probation in Sex Case
Clutching a Bible, Michelle Holden, the wife of a Pasadena councilman, was sentenced Thursday to three years’ probation for having sex with a 15-year-old male baby-sitter.
Superior Court Judge Joseph F. De Vanon handed down the sentence after the boy’s parents and sister told a packed Pasadena courtroom that the wife of Councilman Chris Holden violated their family’s trust and committed the ultimate betrayal.
“I would like to ask you why you did this? We were family. We were friends,” said the boy’s mother as she glared at Holden. She was identified only as Jane Doe in court.
In May, Holden, 35, pleaded no contest to felony unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. In return, prosecutors agreed to drop seven other felony and misdemeanor sex charges.
With the plea bargain, the daughter-in-law of Los Angeles City Councilman Nate Holden avoided a prison term and having to register as a sex offender.
Michelle Holden looked downward as De Vanon pronounced sentence and her husband observed from the front row.
During her probation, Holden must undergo sex and drug counseling, comply with drug tests and complete 200 hours of community service.
Outside the courtroom, she nodded in agreement as her attorney Mark J. Geragos said that a trial would have proven her innocent but that the mother of four did not want to put her family through the ordeal.
“I just want to say that I’m happy that it’s over,” said Holden, flanked by her husband and friends. “I’m ready to move on with my life.”
Thursday’s sentencing turned heated when the boy’s family questioned why, in a newspaper article published shortly after her plea agreement was reached, Michelle Holden said she was the victim.
“She took advantage of my 15-year-old son and her article, ‘I Am Victim, Hear Me Roar,’ shows the level of her denial,” said the boy’s mother during her opportunity to address the court. “We were thinking she was remorseful on some level but not able to show it.”
The comments so infuriated Geragos that at one point, he openly challenged the family’s statements.
Moments later, as the prosecutor questioned why Holden had written a letter to the probation office indicating that she was a “rape victim,” Geragos bellowed out that the proceedings were a “dog and pony show” and “nonsense.”
That prompted a family member to scream: “This is not nonsense!”
Holden was arrested July 2, 1998, and charged with unlawful sex acts with two minors. An eight-count grand jury indictment accused her of having oral sex and sexual intercourse with the baby-sitter, plus committing a lewd act with a second boy, who was 14 or 15 years old.
A Pasadena police detective told the grand jury that Holden admitted incidents of oral sex but denied she had sexual intercourse with the boy.
Outside the courtroom Thursday, attorney Geragos said both the boys in the case “were nothing better than gangbangers.” But the former baby-sitter’s sister said that description defied logic.
“Why would you let a gangbanger watch your kids?” she asked.