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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.