New Florida Case Thwarts Calif. Molester's Release

Date: 2010-03-12
Source: ABC News

California molester's release from prison thwarted by federal case filed in Florida
By JOHN ANTCZAK
The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES

The feared release of a convicted child molester from a California prison was thwarted Friday by 11th-hour federal charges involving child porn and a woman's allegations that he bought her as a child in Asia and subjected her to years of sexual abuse while molesting her young friends.

George Joseph England, 65, remained imprisoned instead of being released on parole after serving three years for molesting three girls in Southern California in the 1970s — a term he delayed for nearly three decades by fleeing before he could be sentenced for the crimes.

England is now charged with transporting a juvenile from California to Florida with the intent to engage in sexual activity, and possessing child porn in computer files transported across state lines.

A U.S. magistrate judge in West Palm Beach, Fla., signed the criminal complaint late Thursday and it was processed Friday morning, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Neiman.

England remained in the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran in the Central Valley, but he was not in a treatment unit, said prison Lt. Stephen Smith.

England will be ordered to a federal court for hearings on removal, identification and bond. It was not known if England had an attorney. State corrections spokespersons were unavailable due to a work furlough.

The new charges were announced a day after the Orange County, Calif., district attorney warned about England's impending freedom and released a video in which Jackie Zudis, 42, told of years of forced sex starting at age 5 after England bought her from her mother in Vietnam in 1972.

An affidavit by FBI Special Agent John J. MacVeigh IV said that he learned about England's scheduled release from Orange County prosecutors last week and reviewed images that had been found on England's computer in 2005 after an attempt to obtain a passport under an alias led to his capture in Florida.

The computer was located when a lawyer for a man who had employed England told agents that England's belongings would be removed from a Miami storage unit and placed on a street as abandoned property, the affidavit said.

MacVeigh wrote that the computer files contained such titles as "8 yo poor girl raped by an burglar."

Zudis gave the information on England's alias to the FBI in 2004, the affidavit said. By then she had lost all contact with England after getting married at age 21 and moving out of his home.

The affidavit said that England had repeatedly impregnated Zudis starting at age 13, and after one birth and a series of abortions she finally threatened to commit suicide to get him to stop molesting her. Orange County prosecutors separately said that occurred when she was 16.

At the time of England's 1977 prosecution for molesting Zudis' 9- and 10-year-old friends she was only referred to as "Jane Doe" and never reported sexual abuse. Prosecutors said England coached and threatened her.

In the video, Zudis urged the community to beware of England.

"Your little girls are in trouble and you need to protect them, and you need to listen to them," the district attorney's office quoted her as saying.

District Attorney Tony Rauckauckas said Zudis chose to go public, no longer wishing to be "Jane Doe."

According to prosecutors, England took Zudis from Vietnam to Thailand and India before coming to California in the early to mid-1970s. They lived in a motorhome in Costa Mesa where he urged Zudis to invite neighbor and school girls for overnight stays, watched them through a hole in a wall and secretly photographed them bathing.

In 1977 he was convicted of molesting three girls, but fled before sentencing when the judge allowed him to remain free on bond to settle his affairs. England took Zudis across the U.S. and ended up in Florida.

After his capture, England served a federal prison term for passport fraud and in 2006 was sent to California to face the molestation conviction.

He was sentenced to three years to life in state prison, but under the sentencing laws that existed in 1977 he could serve no more than six years and his release was scheduled based on prison credit for good behavior and work time, the district attorney's office said.

A conviction on the same crimes today would result in a sentence of 45 years to life, prosecutors said.

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