Man convicted of keeping child sex slave
By LARRY WELBORN
A former Costa Mesa resident who spent 29 years as a fugitive after he was convicted in Orange County of child molestation in the 1970s was found guilty in Florida late Wednesday of federal charges of bringing a child across state lines for sexual purposes.
It took a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale about an hour to convict George Joseph England, now 66, of five charges involved with purchasing a child in Vietnam in the 1960s, bringing her to Orange County and later Florida while passing her off as his adopted daughter.
But instead of giving her parental guidance, England molested her on a daily basis, encouraged her to invite young girls over so he could molest them as well, and even engage in sexual activities with animals, according to testimony in his trial in Florida.
England, who is in poor health and uses a wheelchair, could face up to 30 years in a federal penitentiary at his sentence in Fort Lauderdale on March 24 by U.S. District Court Judge Jose A. Gonzalez Jr.
He was convicted in Orange County Superior Court in 1977 of sexually assaulting three girls in Costa Mesa who had been friends with the Vietnamese girl. But he fled with his so-called adopted daughter before sentencing and hid out under an assumed named on the East Coast for nearly three decades while he continued to molest the girl for years.
England was captured and arrested in Florida in 2006 after his victim, who had moved away and married, went to Florida authorities. He was returned to Orange County and sentenced under 1970s laws to four consecutive one-year-to-life terms in prison in September, 2006.
But because of the relative leniency of those older laws, England was eligible for parole after serving three years in custody.
On March 10, 2010 – on the day he was to be paroled from state prison in California – England was charged in federal court with the five federal charges of bringing a child across state lines for the purposes of molesting her.
Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas was staging a press conference on that day to protest England's pending release when he learned that England was being charged in federal court.
"Prison is where he belongs," Rackauckas said. "Not in our neighborhoods. Not on our streets.'' he said.
England served in the U.S. Army during the 1960s, and his tour of duty took him to the Korean peninsula. 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.
In a 2006 interview with the Register in Palm Beach, Florida, Jackie Zudis, the Vietnamese girl who was then in her late 30s, said England molested her for years while brainwashing her into believing the all authorities were horrible, that he was the only one who could protect her, that nobody else would adopt her and she could end up in a life of prostitution.
Zudis said the sexual torment was often humiliating and went on for more than a decade, until she turned 18 in Florida and adamantly refused to have further sexual contact with England.
Among other things, she said, England got her pregnant several times, forcing her to give one baby up for adoption when she was 13, and to have abortions on several other occasions.
Federal investigators located the baby she gave up for adoption, and used that as evidence in his Fort Lauderdale trial that he was engaging in lawful sex with a minor under 14.
Zudis also told The Register that when she was a child, England ordered her to wait in a car in a parking lot while he went inside adult bookstores and perused and bought pornography.
She said she remained angry and bitter that no one came to her aid through the years of abuse.
"I don't know if I will ever feel at peace with that," she told the reporter. "I don't understand how I could have fallen through the cracks."