December 07, 2016
A Montgomery County man who was convicted of sexually assaulting a child has been jailed for similar crimes in England after he skipped bail in the United States a decade ago, prosecutors announced Wednesday.
According to officials, 33-year-old Gerard Zalewski was orginally charged in 2004 during the course of an investigation by the Montgomery County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. At the time, Zalewski had multiple conversations with an undercover detective posing as a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested after arranging a meeting with the detective under the impression he would be having sex with a child.
Investigators later discovered that Zalewski had previous sexual contact with a 13-year-old Bucks County girl he met over the internet in June 2004. He would eventually plead guilty to deviate sexual intercourse and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse — both first-degree felonies — in November 2005.
Zalewski skipped bail, failed to appear for a March 2006 sentencing hearing and was sentenced in absentia to 5-20 years in state prison. He had been unaccounted for in the United States and listed among the FBI's "Most Wanted" fugitives until it was revealed Wednesday that he was captured, convicted and sentenced in England.
Authorities from the Lancashire Constabulary revealed that Zalewsk, a native of Poland, had been living in Dartford in Kent, located about 18 miles from London.
A manhunt ensued after Zalewski fled from responding authorities and he was eventually captured on June 21. He pleaded guilty in October to two counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, making indecent photographs of a child and false imprisonment.
On Dec. 6, Zalewski was sentenced to 12 years in prison in England.
Upon his return to the United States, Zalewski could face an additional 14 years on his sentence as a result of new federal charge of flight to avoid punishment and an outsanding charge of default in required appearance in Montgomery County.