A British judge has agreed to extradite an Orange County fugitive who appears on the FBI’s most-wanted list for allegedly molesting an underage choirboy from 1998 to 2002.

U.S and British authorities have been battling for more than three years over the extradition of Roger Giese, 42, who has been a fugitive since 2007, when he fled shortly before his trial in Orange County Superior Court, the Orange County Register reported.

He was discovered in 2014 living in a small town in the English countryside and was working for a public-relations firm and living under a different name, according to British tabloids.

British High Court judges refused to extradite Giese after determining that his human rights could be violated under a California law that allows sex offenders to be forcibly committed to a mental hospital after they have served their prison time.

But on Monday, a district judge at Westminster Magistrates’ Court ruled that Giese can be returned to the U.S., the BBC reported. He has 14 days to appeal the ruling, which could put the case back in front of the High Court.

Giese is accused of sexually assaulting a choirboy he met while working as a voice coach for the All-American Boys Chorus in Buena Park. The charges include lewd acts on a child under 14, penetration by a foreign object, and oral copulation of a person under 18, with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child.

California is one of 20 states that have civil commitment laws. Under civil commitment, a convicted sex offender who has served his sentence can be forcibly committed to a state mental hospital indefinitely if medical experts believe that person is a sexually violent predator likely to re-offend. Coalinga State Hospital in Central California houses more than 900 such offenders, according to the Department of State Hospitals.

British judges have refused extradition in other U.S. cases on the grounds that civil commitment is a human rights violation. Giese’s case was renewed last year when U.S. officials launched a new extradition bid under the guarantee that he would not face civil commitment if convicted, the Register reported

—City News Service

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