New charges will keep molester in prison
By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI and LARRY WELBORN
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SANTA ANA – A serial child molester from Costa Mesa set to be freed Friday won't be released because federal authorities have filed a warrant for his arrest, county prosecutors said.
The announcement about George Joseph England, 65, came during a news conference on Thursday organized by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, which was intended to warn the community about England's impending release.
England spent 29 years as a fugitive after being found guilty of sexually assaulting three girls in Costa Mesa in the mid-1970s. He was captured and arrested in Florida in 2006, and was sentenced to four consecutive one-year-to-life terms in prison that September.
But, because the crimes happened in the 1970s, England was eligible for parole after serving only three years in custody.
Rackauckas opposed England's scheduled release from Corcoran State Prison, which was approved by the state's mental health evaluators.
"Prison is where he belongs. Not in our neighborhoods. Not on our streets,'' he said.
During his speech, Rackauckas' spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder informed him that federal authorities just called and said England will not be released.
The new charges involve allegations of child pornography and the Mann Act, which prohibits interstate transportation of a minor for sexual purposes, regarding one of England's alleged victims: a Vietnamese girl whom he purchased from her mother during the Vietnam War, Rackauckas said.
England was never charged in state court for those alleged crimes because she did not report the assaults until the statute of limitations had expired.
The prosecutor did not have additional details on the new case. Rackauckas did say the charges could mean a life sentence for the convicted molester.
"If the people of Orange County share my mind, they are relieved that the U.S. Attorney's Office have come in and pursued this new case,'' he said.
Late Thursday, federal charges were filed late against England in Palm Beach, Fla., Schroeder said. The federal case alleges that England transported a minor from Orange County to Florida in 1977 and possessed child pornography on his computer, according to Schroeder.
England served in the U.S. Army during the 1960s, and his tour of duty took him to Korea. After being honorably discharged in 1966, he moved to Vietnam to work as a civilian contractor. In 1972, England met a Vietnamese woman, and bought her 5-year-old daughter, prosecutors said.
After purchasing the girl from her mother, England moved her to Costa Mesa in the mid-1970s.
While living in Costa Mesa in the mid-1970s, England was arrested for molesting three girls, ages 9 and 10, who had been playmates with the young Vietnamese girl, after one of the victims disclosed the assault to her mother.
He was convicted of those charges in Orange County Superior Court in 1977, but was allowed to remain free in lieu of bail pending his sentencing so that he could tidy up his affairs.
But instead of showing up in court, England removed the Vietnamese girl from protective custody and fled, spending the next 29 years as a fugitive until he was captured in Florida in 2005.
Orange County District Attorney Supervising Investigator Clint McCall discovered that England was living on a yacht in West Palm Beach. England assumed the identity of Stephen Arthur Seagoe, who had been born a year after England but died at 11 months old, prosecutors said. He worked as an electrician.
England was then taken into custody, and told authorities his real name, and "said he was sorry for all the things he had done in his life,'' according to a prosecution investigative report.
"Jackie (Zudis) lived this case since he bought her in 1972,'' McCall said. "With him facing a potential life sentence, he would never victimize children again ... it's a huge relief for society."
A videotaped interview with Zudis was played during the news conference. Zudis said England told her to invite her schoolmates over to their home so he could molest them.
She also said she was repeatedly abused by England until she was 18 or 19. She first became pregnant by England at age 13, she said, and gave the baby up for adoption. She later got between six to eight abortions after his assaults, she said.
Zudis said she was scared to report the abuse. She said she didn't trust any adults, and recounted how once, England chased her around the home and injected her with a hypodermic needle before raping her.
Additionally, he forced her to have sex with dogs, she tearfully said.
"Who's to say anyone else is better than he was,'' she said, recalling her mindset.
Zudis said she decided to speak publicly to warn families everywhere about her abuser, a Canadian citizen who was supposed to have re-located to that country after his release because of an immigration hold.
"I want Canada to know what kind of monster is being released into their country," said Zudis, identified as the girl England purchased in Vietnam. "Your little girls are in trouble and you need to protect them."
Zudis could not be reached for comment regarding the new charges against England.
Alicia Valle, special counsel to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Florida, declined to give details on the case.
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