An Orange County man who authorities say fled the country more than a decade ago after being charged with sexually assaulting a choir boy over a four-year period has been extradited back to the U.S., authorities said Monday.
The announcement came the same day that the accused child molester, 43-year-old Roger Alan Giese, made his first court appearance in Santa Ana since returning to California.
He was scheduled to be arraigned on the bench warrant for his arrest, but the arraignment was continued until later this month.
Giese is being held on $60 million bail, jail records showed.
“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 of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said in a news release.
Before his arrest, Giese was on the Orange County District Attorney’s and FBI’s “Most Wanted” lists after fleeing the country in 2007 prior to his trial.
The fugitive had been hiding out in Britain, but a tip in 2012 led authorities to his whereabouts, according to a news release from the DA’s office. He had been living there under a fake name.
A British high court refused to extradite him back to California to face justice, citing a potential human rights violation, the Los Angeles Times reported back in 2015.
At issue was a California law that allows sex offenders classified as “sexually violent predators” to be involuntarily committed to mental hospitals after serving out their sentences, according to the newspaper.
The lengthy court process finally concluded on July 17, when the extradition order was finalized, the release stated.
In exchange, Orange County prosecutors said they had to agree not to pursue civil commitment in the case, should the defendant be convicted and sentenced.
“If it’s a choice between getting the person here to stand trial or not, well then, we have to make that decision at the time,” DA Tony Rackauckas said during a news conference Monday. “But, honestly, if somebody’s such a significant sexual predator, that of course has to be considered.”
He is accused of sexually assaulting a choir boy between May 1, 1998 and May 31, 2002, while he worked as a voice coach for The All-American Boys Chorus in Buena Park. The victim was between the ages of 13 and 17 when the alleged abuse occurred, according to the DA’s office.
Giese had joined the same church as the teenager’s family and befriended them.
He allegedly used that friendship to gain access to the boy, identified by prosecutors only as John Doe. The defendant is accused of “luring” the victim and his brother to overnight visits at his home.
While “grooming” John Doe for several months, Giese allegedly posed as a member of an elite military unit and began molesting the teen, telling him he could earn a spot on “Delta Force” by providing him semen, urine, blood and stool samples, according to the DA’s office.
He is suspected of “masturbating, orally copulating, and anally penetrating” the victim, investigators said. Giese also allegedly masturbated in front of the teen.
Prosecutors charged the defendant with nearly 20 counts.
The charges include 10 counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 or 15, five counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, three counts of anal penetration by a foreign object and one count of oral copulation of a person under 18, according to the DA’s office.
He also faces a sentencing enhancement allegation of substantial sexual conduct with a child.
If convicted, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 23 years and four months in prison.
“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,” Rackauckas said.
A $500,000 arrest warrant was issued for Giese in March 2017. Prosecutors noted the defendant had showed up to court dates “on many occasions” before he fled the country.
Giese was transported to Orange County from England on Friday and booked into jail.