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O.C. attorney pleads guilty to molesting teens

Times Staff Writer

A Ladera Ranch attorney and former congressional aide pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting two teenage boys. In exchange for the plea, authorities said, Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, 37, is expected to be sentenced April 18 to three years in state prison.

“It was time to settle these cases,” Nielsen’s attorney, Paul Meyer, said.

Nielsen, a former aide to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) who has also worked for Orange County GOP Chairman Scott Baugh, was arrested in 2003. Westminster police had found thousands of images of child pornography on his home computer, laptop and a computer at his Costa Mesa law office.

Prosecutors contended that Nielsen had met the 14-year-old victim on a gay Internet site and driven the boy to his Ladera Ranch condominium, where the two engaged in oral sex.

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They did the same thing on two additional occasions over the next four weeks, prosecutors said. The boy, a high school freshman, told a friend who alerted school authorities.

A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case earlier this year.

Later, however, Nielsen confessed, and the Orange County district attorney’s office obtained additional evidence from two of his former roommates. Prosecutors also filed charges involving a 13-year-old they said Nielsen had molested repeatedly while living at the boy’s family’s Virginia home in 1994.

Nielsen will remain free on $10,000 bail until his sentencing, authorities said.

Nielsen’s father, Ben, is a former Fountain Valley mayor.

david.haldane@latimes.com


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