Tehachapi activist in court for alleged sex crimes

MOJAVE, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Tehachapi community activist Steven Vogel made his first appearance in Kern County Superior Court in Mojave where he pleaded not guilty to five felony counts of having sex with two boys under 16.

"He convinced my son to sneak out of the house," said the mother of one of the alleged victims, who gave a first name of Nicole. She was present at Vogel's court appearance.

Vogel's mother, Bonnie MacKenzie, was also present. MacKenzie told Eyewitness News that her son is gay but that she was unaware he was meeting young boys on social network sites.

Vogel allegedly made contact with the two boys on the social dating site "Jackd."

Nicole said Vogel persuaded her son to leave the house without being detected at around 1:30 a.m the morning of Dec. 31. Her 15-year-old son did not return to the house until around 4 a.m., she said.

"He was gone for several hours, he took him out to eat, then took him to the spot that they went to and he did what he did with him," said Nicole.

But MacKenzie said her son told her that the boys told him they were 18 years old and lied about their real age.

Vogel is being held on $200,000 bail.