By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Physical evidence was inconclusive, but with Newman’s record and three witnesses, attorney James Blatt advised him to plead no contest to a felony lewd act against a minor — the same as a guilty plea. He must register as a sex offender in California and New York. Newman has plenty to say about his record and his plea: “Lynn Magnandonovan kept saying I violated my probation by hanging out with minors, but there were parents home.” As for witnesses who say he molested the 15-year-old, he says, “They said I was under the covers. If that’s true, how would they know what happened? I’d be crazy to have sex with a kid while someone’s parent was home.” As for what he was doing in a bedroom with a teenager 10 years younger, Newman says he was there to meet a 22-year-old.
Yet he admits teenagers were part of his world, even after he reached adulthood and got a rap sheet: “For a long time I couldn’t acknowledge it, but I’ve come out as gay. A lot of teenagers are gay, but kids their age won’t come out. They end up hanging out with adults. Go to any gay youth-group meeting, you’ll see.”
Court records identify Newman’s alleged victim as “John Doe.” Additional documents obtained by the Weekly reveal that John Doe is not an innocent led astray, even if the crime occurred as he says it did. He hangs out with teenagers who have experimental attitudes about sex and drugs — a world that scares some parents.
In his personal message on his MySpace account, John Doe announces he’d like to meet “hot naked guys,” and that he is “in a relationship.” One of John Doe’s friends, who did not witness the alleged molestation but gave a statement to the police, also has a MySpace account, and calls himself “Sadistic Little Fuck.” It was Sadistic Little Fuck who informed John Doe’s school that a molestation might have occurred, prompting authorities to investigate, according to John Doe’s mother. On his MySpace account, Sadistic Little Fuck, now 18, declares: “Fuck me I’m single . . . Sex is my top interest.”
The MySpace account of an actual witness, who was present at the time of the alleged molestation, begins, “Well, I’m a stoner . . .” In an instant-message exchange, the teenage witness identifies himself by his full name and describes his participation in group-sex situations and large-scale drug dealing. In response to a question about whether he is bisexual, he writes, “I used to be. Just got sick of guys.”
The Weekly also obtained instant-message exchanges between a friend of Newman’s and John Doe, now 17 and living with his parents in North Hollywood. John Doe gives his full name and phone number and describes the encounter with Newman. “Very bad time for me and the other guy,” he writes. “It was confusing.” John Doe did not return calls for comment; his mother, who was listed as a witness, answered the phone recently and spoke to the Weekly about her son’s encounter. “That’s not true,” she said of Newman’s claim that he never molested her son, whose MySpace account lists him as 6 feet tall. “It’s not as if my son isn’t gay and wasn’t experimenting around, but he didn’t want to have sex just then. He was a lot smaller at the time. He just didn’t put up enough of a fight. He was absolutely violated and he was scared. He didn’t know what to do.”
PARENTS WHO HAVE FORMED RIGID opinions about Newman are still angry about the firing of Magnandonovan. A child molester went free in 2001, they say, only to molest again. And the City Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles Superior Court punished the one person who worked tirelessly to see that it did not happen.
“I am the father of a boy who nearly fell into Mr. Newman’s web and am also a firsthand witness of Miss Magnandonovan’s tireless, skillful, impassioned and heroic efforts to get this pedophile off the streets,” Timothy Harris wrote to Delgadillo and his former chief deputy, Terree Bowers, on September 24, 2001. “Anyone who spends any time in court gets a clear sense that many people involved are simply going through the motions. Events are clouded or go awry through incompetence and lack of will.”
But David Newman is not necessarily the monster some make him out to be, according to experts who have evaluated him. Dr. Raymond Anderson, a clinical psychologist in Van Nuys who specializes in the treatment of sex offenders, says he has examined Newman for two years and found that he has personality-function problems but that “he doesn’t suffer from pedophilia.” Anderson says Newman has made progress overcoming his psychological conditions, and that “it would be good if he received psychotropic medication to improve his grounding and focus.”
Anderson could be dismissed as a paid mouthpiece of the defense. Even he, however, wonders whether Newman could have benefited from help earlier, had he not fallen through the cracks. “Ordinarily there’s a price to pay for not committing to therapy and the terms of probation. I see no reason why that approach could not have helped David.”
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