Ex-Choir Director Accused of Child Molestation Returned to OC a Decade After Fleeing Country

Roger Giese, 43, is wanted in a case of sexual abuse involving a boy under 14

A former choir director accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy and fleeing to England over a decade ago was extradited to Orange County on Friday to face trial for sexual assault of a child.

Roger Giese, 43, was wanted for trial in Orange County, charged with sexually abusing a boy aged under 14. Giese's challenge to his extradition failed in June in Britain's high court, the BBC reported, and the following month the court refused to let him appeal the decision.

Arraignment for Giese, now back in Orange County, was postponed until Aug. 29. Bail was set Monday at $60 million.

Giese is accused of sexually abusing a boy between 1998 and 2002 and was on the FBI's most wanted list. Giese, 43, met the victim while working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus in 1998, the British court heard.

"Giese convinced the boy's parents to allow him to stay at their home for two weeks while he looked for a new apartment," according to the warrant.

He emptied his bank account and fled to the United Kingdom on the eve of his trial in 2007, leaving his family behind.

Giese was eventually found in Hampshire, England working for a PR firm and living under a different name with a woman who did not know his true identity. As well as child sex offences, U.S. federal authorities also issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of "unlawful flight to avoid prosecution."

"The return of Mr. Giese to the United States after more than a decade is an example of the FBI's commitment to returning fugitives accused of state crimes to local jurisdictions where they face prosecution regardless of how much time has passed," Paul Delacourt, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office, said in a statement on Monday. "We will continue to work with our local counterparts by locating and returning fugitives in order to deliver justice to victims of violent crime."

"The OCDA has been working diligently for several years with local, federal, and international authorities to make sure Giese is brought to justice," District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in a statement. "Giese is charged with violating a young boy in a sickening way. He is accused of violating not only John Doe, but also victimizing his family. The OCDA will not give up looking for a child predator no matter where in the world he hides. Giese needs to be held accountable not just for robbing John Doe of his innocence, but also denying him from getting justice for 16 years."

Giese's 2002 charges included five counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, 10 counts of lewd acts upon a child age 14 or 15, three counts of anal penetration by a foreign object and oral copulation of a person under 18 years of age. Giese also faced the charge of substantial sexual conduct with a child. The maximum sentence for the crimes was 23 years and four months in state prison.

His attorney, Lisa Eyanson, declined comment outside court, City News Service reported.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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