Orange County molester who evaded prison arrested in Florida
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) -- A convicted child molester who fled Southern California before his prison sentence and eluded authorities for nearly 30 years by taking on the identity of a long-dead infant has been arrested in Florida, officials said Monday.
George Joseph England was arrested by federal agents last week aboard a yacht in Miami, according to Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. The vessel's owner was not charged, officials said.
The name of England's defense attorney was not immediately available.
Since his conviction in 1977, England, 60, had traveled overseas repeatedly with a daughter he appears to have informally adopted in Vietnam, authorities said.
He had assumed the identity of Stephen Arthur Seagoe, who was 11 months old when he died of undetermined causes in 1946 in Santa Barbara County, the district attorney said.
He was caught after the daughter he brought back from Vietnam, and also allegedly molested, alerted a neighbor who happened to be an FBI agent, Rackauckas said. The daughter, whose name was not disclosed, hadn't seen England since 1995 but told the agent she had recently learned he was spotted in the West Palm Beach, Fla., area.
She was 5 when England allegedly brought her from Vietnam in 1972 to live with him, although he apparently never completed formal adoption proceedings, said Clint McCall, an investigator for the district attorney's office. England served in Vietnam with the Army from 1963 to 1966 and returned as a civilian contractor before the war ended, McCall said.
An Orange County jury convicted him in 1977 of molesting three of his daughter's playmates in a motor home in Costa Mesa.
"He was using the girl to lure other little girls in the neighborhood," Rackauckas said.
A judge released him to get his affairs in order before he was to begin serving a prison sentence of at least six years.
He fled instead, adopted the new identity and continued to molest the Vietnamese girl until her late teen years, McCall said. Over the years, McCall said, the two visited Vietnam, India and Guam.
England, who is being held in Florida, will be returned to California to serve his prison sentence.
He also faces federal charges of obtaining a passport under a false name, McCall said.