Convictions for past child sex offenses didn’t stop Ronald Nold from becoming the nation’s foremost recruiter for the Fraternal Order of Eagles in 2015. Representing Coeur d’Alene Eagles post No. 486, the 65-year-old accountant brought in 128 new members, according to Soar, the organization’s monthly newsletter.
Nold was already a registered sex offender at the time, and had been since the early 1990s. Despite his record, he was listed as the post’s president in 2012, its secretary in 2008 and treasurer in 2014, according to Idaho business tax files. He was also the secretary of the Hayden Eagles from 2013-2017.
Then, last summer, Nold was arrested in an internet child sex sting. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The trial is set for March, but according to court minutes filed Jan. 10, his defense attorney expects him to plead guilty to the charge in a pretrial hearing.
The Coeur d’Alene Eagles said it has no ties with Nold, a man who told detectives he taught a Bible class at Athol Baptist Church.
“Per the Constitution of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, action regarding change of membership status due to alleged criminal activity cannot be taken until a member is convicted of the aforementioned activity,” the Coeur d’Alene Eagles said in a statement to The Spokesman-Review.
Nold, however, has multiple convictions for similar crimes dating back several decades – convictions for sodomy in Oregon’s Malheur County 1993, and an indecent liberties conviction in Okanogan, Washington, in 1989. According to authorities, both cases involved underage boys, and one stemmed from a student-teacher relationship, according to a police report.
Then in 1997, Nold was sentenced to 18 months for grand theft after a jury convicted him of stealing thousands of dollars from his employer.
How a man with multiple sex crimes and a grand theft conviction on his record ascended to respected positions with a celebrated local fraternal organization – one known for its charitable works and community building – remains an open question. Beyond its brief statement on change of membership status, the organization declined to comment.
Nold was also involved in a number of small-business ventures, helped manage the Lake West Forest Properties homeowners association in northwest Coeur d’Alene and was active in his church. In at least some of those cases, his past was flagged to other members of the organizations’ leadership.
The seeming contradiction struck Penelope Morris, a retired paralegal who lives in Lake Forest Properties, as troubling.
“It’s hard for me to fathom such reckless disregard for the residents of our subdivision, and especially for the health and safety of the children here,” Morris said.
On Aug. 27, 2017, a Coeur d’Alene police officer posted a Craiglist ad with the persona of a 15-year-old boy, according to a police report, and Nold responded.
“OK, I am much older than you but have a couple things going for me,” Nold replied, according to a police transcript. “One, I am willing to take the time to explore every inch of your body and not be in a hurry. I own my own business so hours are flexible and will be able to a$$i$t with making it worth your time.”
The conversation with Nold – which included the undercover officer saying he was 15 years old multiple times – continued until they agreed to meet at the Springhill Suites by Marriott in Coeur d’Alene. There, Nold was detained by police and eventually booked on charges of enticing a child over the internet.
In his interview with detectives, Nold said he was a University of Nevada-Las Vegas graduate. An archive search of the UNLV’s student newspaper listed a Ron Nold as a member of its student government in the 1970s.
Nold, who told police he thought he was speaking to an 18-year-old man on the ad, admitted to having sexual relationships with eight to 10 underage people, the police report said.
He also told detectives he had a sexual relationship with a student when he was a teacher in the 1980s and served prison time for the offense, the police report said. It did not say where the offense was committed.
“Throughout my contact with Nold, I didn’t ever see any indication of remorse for planning to meet a 15-year-old for the purpose of sexual activity,” Coeur d’Alene police Officer Jared Reneau said in his report. “Nold didn’t seem remorseful for the past sexual contacts he’d had with minors.”
A judge set Nold’s bond at $150,000. The sizable bail was paid in full by an unknown party on Aug. 29 and he was released.
The Spokesman-Review was unsuccessful in reaching Nold through his business and personal phone numbers.
Many roles, secrets
When Nold was interviewed by detectives, a police report said he told them he taught Bible class at Athol Baptist Church and volunteers to go on mission trips to the Philippines.
The church confirmed Nold’s trips to the Philippines, but said he wasn’t a member of the church itself, acting solely as an independent contractor who does the church’s taxes.
The church said it requires anyone who works with children to submit to a background check.
“He did our taxes as an independent contractor,” Pastor Chris Antone told The Spokesman-Review after learning of Nold’s most recent allegations. “We don’t do background checks for something like that.”
But in other cases, it is less clear that Nold’s past remained obscured. Residents of Lake Forest Properties flagged his record as a sex offender to the association’s management months before his August 2017 arrest, according to Morris.
Morris said Nold acted as a day-to-day property manager for the association, collected dues and handled association funds and enforced regulations in the neighborhood. A 2014 Idaho tax filing lists Nold as Lake Forest’s incorporator.
The first time she met Nold, Morris said, was in October 2016 when he conducted a board meeting in absence of the HOA’s board members. Five months before Nold’s August arrest, Morris said, a neighbor emailed Lake Forest with concerns about Nold’s sex offender status.
Morris said that when she learned of Nold’s arrest, she began alerting neighbors and emailed the board for answers.
“I spent many nights during that time worrying about the safety of the children in our neighborhood and about how our banking information had been compromised,” she said.
“But the coup de grace came when a fellow homeowner forwarded me an email sent to an association board member 5 months earlier alerting them to Nold’s criminal sex history,” she said. “That revelation literally sickened me.”
The Lake Forest property manager’s attorney, Edwin Holmes, sent an email to Lakeshore’s members following his latest arrest.
“Upon the board’s notification of the charge, it immediately severed its management contract with Mr. Nold and is no longer acting as the association’s property manager,” Holmes wrote. “It is important to note that Mr. Nold was never an employee of the board and any action he undertook as property manager for the association was in his role as an independent contractor.”
Holmes did not return a message seeking an interview.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the dates of Nold’s tenure with the Hayden Eagles Club.