A former local chef who led an effort to reduce gang violence in the mid-2000s was arrested Wednesday for inappropriate sexual conduct with a 16-year-old minor, Lodi Police stated in a news release.
Cpl. Dale Eubanks said police arrested Lodi resident David Nielsen, 49, for the abuse of a minor that started in February 2012 and went until May 2012. Eubanks said police were made aware of the abuse in June.
Police arrested Nielsen for oral copulation of a minor, sexual penetration of a minor (under 18 years of age), annoying or molesting a minor and contact with a minor for sexual intents. His bail is $213,000.
Lodi police detectives have also seized Nielsen's computers and other electronic devices to search for evidence, Eubanks stated. More charges could be added because the investigation is ongoing, police said.
Any other victims or anyone with information on David Nielsen should contact Detective Hettie Schaeffer at 209-333-5541.
Nielsen, who is originally from Maryland, served as executive chef at Rosewood in Lodi until at least 2007 and was a co-owner of Amicci's Catering.
Recently, he has stepped forward as an organizer and leader of the Rainbow Project, a group that provides an open, safe and inclusive space committed to educating Lodi-area residents about the gay community, according to the group's mission statement. The group meets monthly.
In 2006, Nielsen lived on Locust Street and led a group of citizens to demand changes on the Eastside to combat gang violence. He said he was fed up with graffiti, loitering and drinking in public and started taking action after finding a "X3," a gang-related marking, spray-painted in orange on a bench in his yard.
He organized meetings with the local residents and specifically focused on seven apartment building with documented gang members. After residents started contacting property owners, some of the problem tenants were ousted.