OC Men and Ex-Priest Charged in Child-Pornography Ring
Former Scout Leader Appears on Video with Boys, Police Say
By David Greenwald
Orange County Register
April 13, 1989
Two Orange County men — one an ex-Boy Scout leader — and a former priest are charged in a child-pornography operation that recruited Mexican boys to perform sex before video cameras in Ensenada, Mexico, last year, authorities said Wednesday.
In all, four men are charged with conspiracy to distribute child pornography, Los Angeles Police Department investigators say.
"The boys had sex with each other and with the adults. Then the tapes were sent back to LA, duplicated and sold," Los Angeles police Detective Bill Dworin said.
The two Orange County men, Jerry Houchens, 49, a copy-machine repairman from Santa Ana, and David Negrette, 26, an aerospace worker from Westminster and former Huntington Beach scout leader, were being held in lieu of $ 200,000 and $ 150,000 bail, said Detective Ralph Bennett of the Los Angeles Police Department's Sexually Exploited Child Unit.
They were arrested three weeks ago. Houchens was released pending further investigation, then rearrested Monday, Bennett said. Two other men, including former Roman Catholic priest John Bauer, are being sought by authorities. The four all are members of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, an organization of pedophiles that deals in child pornography, detectives said.
Huntington Beach police are trying to determine whether any Scouts were involved.
Dworin said Negrette, 26, lives in a Westminster mobile-home park and has worked at McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Huntington Beach since January 1986.
Negrette was an assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 274 in Huntington Beach until about a year ago, according to Los Angeles Police Department documents.
"All I know about that is that he left the Scouts after some kind of allegations of misconduct," Dworin said. "Huntington Beach detectives have been reviewing our evidence."
Huntington Beach police Detective Sgt. Bill Peterson said Wednesday that police are working with the Boy Scouts' Orange County Council to determine if there was any sexual activity involving Negrette and Scouts.
"Right now, we have no victims, but we're looking," Peterson said.
Devon Dougherty, spokesman for the Boy Scout council, said records did not reflect how long Negrette was in Scouting.
"All I can say is that he has not been involved with us for some time," Dougherty said. "He was dismissed because he did not meet our leadership standards. I can't go beyond that."
Authorities said the case came to light when a transient youth told workers at a shelter about his encounters with Bauer at his Hollywood apartment. The teen-ager said Bauer, 52, had nude photographs of children on his walls.
In August, detectives searched the apartment, finding marijuana plants and enough videotapes and video equipment to fill a truck bed, Bennett said.
Items found included videos, kiddie-porn magazines, books, slides and photos depicting men and boys engaged in various sex acts.
Bauer's voice could be heard on videos giving directions, according to a sworn affidavit from detectives.
Negrette allegedly appears in at least one of the videos. Houchens' name was found on the back of one of Bauer's business cards, and he later was linked to the ring.
The movies had such titles as "Mexican Experience I" and "Mexican Chili, Mexican Delight," according to an affidavit filed in connection with the search warrant.
Also found in the search was a letter from a friend of Bauer's in Thailand. Bauer was planing to visit, and the friend had written: "I hope your luggage is light enough to carry something special for me.
Some mild cheddar cheese, a large package of nacho cheese Doritos, a can of bean dip and more tapes if you can."
Bauer was arrested for investigation of cultivating marijuana. But it took several days for detectives to watch the videotapes and realize that they could arrest him on pornography charges, Bennett said.
By that time, authorities said, Bauer had posted $ 1,000 bail and fled.
Victor Feliciano, 29, of Rosemead also was being sought in connection with the ring, which allegedly used Mexican youths and Southern California runaways as models, Bennett said.
"There's a good chance that Feliciano may be in Europe, but we don't know about Bauer," he said.
Both Orange County men's homes were searched. At Negrette's home, pornographic books and magazines were found as well as a Boy Scout identification card.
A search of Houchens' residence turned up video equipment, pornography and slides of Feliciano molesting boys, according to affidavits.
Bauer was ordained in 1963 and became a parish priest in Anaconda, Mont., according to a March 1984 article in the men's magazine Chic.
His support of homosexual rights and other causes sparked conflict with his superiors and he left the priesthood in 1970 for a teaching post at Montana State University, the magazine article said. It is unclear whether he was defrocked by the Vatican.
In 1985, as Bauer was opening a porno shop in Spokane, Wash., he was quoted in a local newspaper as saying: "As far as I'm concerned, I'm a priest, but not a Catholic priest. My religion is one of sexual liberation, where people want to free themselves from the forces of other religions that say sex is bad."
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