“‘Mr. Wonder’ indicted on sex-related charges in Rapides” & related article

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The Town Talk

Frank John Selas III, the former Monroe children’s television host who fled Rapides Parish warrants in 1979, was indicted on Thursday on multiple sex-related charges.

Selas, known as “Mr. Wonder” during his time at KNOE-TV in Monroe, has been in a San Diego jail since his arrest in late January by U.S. marshals on the two warrants for obscene behavior with a juvenile. On Thursday, a Rapides Parish grand jury returned indictments against him on two counts of aggravated rape, three counts of sexual battery and eight counts of felony indecent behavior with juveniles.

An after-hours message left by The Town Talk with Selas’ California attorney, Marc Carlos, wasn’t immediately returned.

Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell was in 9th Judicial District Court Judge Monique Rauls’ courtroom as the grand jury of five men and seven women returned the indictments at about 6:10 p.m.. He rose to thank them for their work, and Rauls echoed Terrell’s comments.

Rapides Assistant District Attorney Brian Mosley, who is prosecuting the case, asked Rauls to issue a warrant for Selas’ arrest and asked for no bond for the 76-year-old man. Rauls granted the request

Rapides Parish District Attorney Phillip Terrell (right) and Assistant District Attorney Brian Mosley (left) talk about the Feb. 25, 2016, indictments against Frank John Selas III, known as “Mr. Wonder.” Melissa Gregory/mgregory@thetowntalk.com

Mosley said the district attorney’s office now would apply for an extradition warrant with the state of Louisiana. He said there’s no estimated time on when Selas may be returned to Rapides Parish.

“We will do everything that we can to expedite it,” he said after the indictments had been returned. “We’re going to be in touch with our Attorney General and ask them to move it through their department quickly and present it to the governor so we can get it back.”

Selas has a status hearing scheduled on Friday morning in San Diego. Terrell said he expected the case in California to move forward rapidly now that Selas has been indicted.

Terrell thanked the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, particularly Sheriff William Earl Hilton, for their work on the case. Hilton was the lead detective who worked the case in 1979.

“The case appears to finally be about to come to fruition,” he said.

Selas fled from Monroe when Hilton and his then-partner Graham Hendricks searched for him at the television station and at his home. From Dallas, Selas flew to Brazil. Investigators know that he has traveled throughout the state and internationally and suspect that more victims are out there.

Investigators still ask anyone with information about Selas to call them at 318-473-6700, Detective Stephen Phillips at 318-473-6727 or CrimeStoppers at 318-443-7867.

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REVEALED: Man believed to be ‘pedophile’ TV host Mr Wonder was banned by his Mormon church from contact with children after breaching their child protection policies

 

  • Frank John Selas III was ‘removed from all positions related to children’
  • The ban happened after he failed to comply with the church’s child protection policies a church spokesman, said on Thursday
  • The church spokesman said in an email that Selas belongs to a Mormon congregation in the San Diego area
  • Selas, 76, was known by the name Frank Szeles in the San Diego area
  • Selas is accused of sexually abusing children during a Boy Scouts camping trip nearly four decades ago
    In the late 1970s, Selas hosted the ‘Mr. Wonder’ show in north Louisiana

By Kelly Mclaughlin and Ashley Collman For Dailymail.com and Associated Press

Published: 05:35 GMT, 29 January 2016 | Updated: 06:14 GMT, 29 January 2016

A man who was accused of sexually abusing children during a camping trip nearly four decades ago when he was known as television show host Mr Wonder was also banned from contact with children from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Frank John Selas III, or Frank Szeles as he was known in the San Diego area, was ‘removed from all positions related to children’ after failing to comply with the church’s child protection policies, Eric Hawkins, a church spokesman, said on Thursday.

After his removal, a parent expressed ‘a generalized concern’ about the suspect’s behavior toward a child and the church urged the parent to report it to authorities, Hawkins said.

The church spokesman said in an email that Selas belongs to a Mormon congregation in the San Diego area.

But Hawkins didn’t specify which one, indicate which positions he held or elaborate on the nature and time of the alleged incidents. He didn’t immediately respond to questions seeking more detail.

Asked to comment, the suspect’s attorney, Marc Carlos, said, ‘Clearly whatever these allegations were, they were not serious enough to refer to the police, which is what they should have done if they were serious’.

Authorities say the man arrested Monday at his Bonita home is Frank John Selas, a 76-year-old fugitive who hosted the Mr Wonder children’s show on KNOE-TV in north Louisiana in the 1970s and changed his name after moving to the San Diego area.

The suspect challenged authorities to prove he is the fugitive. On Wednesday, a San Diego judge ordered him to be held without bail and scheduled a hearing for February 11 to establish identity.

The man arrested by the US Marshals Service at his home goes by Frank Szeles and advertised swim lessons and other activities for young children.

Authorities say the former television host changed his name.

In the late 1970s, Selas hosted the Mr Wonder show on KNOE-TV in north Louisiana. In 1979, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office fielded complaints from parents who accused Selas of abusing their children, following a Cub Scouts camping trip in the Kisatchie National Forest.

The Boy Scouts of America said on Wednesday that the suspect was Cubmaster of Pack 888 in Bonita, near San Diego, but he was ‘removed from Scouting several years ago for non-compliance with our youth protection policies and procedures’.

Without elaborating, it said his removal followed a complaint from a parent who was not involved in the group and was unrelated to scouting.

Selas, then 39, allegedly then fled the country before investigators could arrest him. His car was found abandoned in Dallas, Texas and it’s believed he traveled to Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

Eventually he returned to the United States in the early 1980s, where he was allegedly joined by his wife, and they moved around the country often, living in Chicago; South Royalton, Vermont; Sheffield, Massachusetts; his hometown of Darien, Connecticut and most recently San Diego where a neighbor says he has been living since 1999.\

‘He always had a lot of kids around him,’ neighbor Haywood Gammon told ABC News.

Selas hosted a children's television show in Louisiana in the 70s as 'Mr Wonder'. He was also a Cub Scout leader. He fled the country with his family in 1979 after a few Cub Scouts accused him of sexually abusing them on a camping trip

Selas hosted a children’s television show in Louisiana in the 70s as ‘Mr Wonder’. He was also a Cub Scout leader. He fled the country with his family in 1979 after a few Cub Scouts accused him of sexually abusing them on a camping trip

He is charged with two counts of obscene behavior with a juvenile.

Authorities have not said whether Selas’ wife, Maria Magdalena Aranda Selas Szeles, will face charges.

The family of the man arrested Monday appeared in court on Wednesday, but didn’t speak with reporters. The man’s attorney, Marc Carlos, read a statement from the family that pleaded for privacy.

‘Despite the allegations, for 37 years, Frank Szeles has been a husband, father and grandfather and has always provided for his family,’ the family said.

‘He is well-loved, respected and supported by his family and friends and the community here in San Diego.’

Carlos said the developments were ‘a shock to everyone’.

Szeles Enterprises advertised swim lessons, Cub Scouts and Saturday field trips for boys 5 to 11 years old in the San Diego area.

Neighbors said on Wednesday that parents often took their children to play in his backyard pool.

‘He always had a lot of kids around him,’ said Haywood Gammon, who lives next door and said the man had been living there with his wife at least since he arrived in 1999.

The Boy Scouts of America said Frank Szeles was Cubmaster of Pack 888 in Bonita but was ‘removed from Scouting several years ago for non-compliance with our youth protection policies and procedures’.

Without elaborating, it said his removal followed a complaint from a parent who was not involved in the group and was unrelated to scouting.

Lt Tommy Carnline, a spokesman for the Rapides Parish sheriff’s office, said investigators identified seven alleged victims.

Steve Jurman, supervisory deputy US marshal in San Diego, said there have been no reports of victims in the San Diego area, where authorities believe he has lived since the 1980s.

Jurman said the man who was arrested Monday told authorities that he changed his name.
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2 Responses to “‘Mr. Wonder’ indicted on sex-related charges in Rapides” & related article

  1. Sylvia says:

    Read it a weep! Children, children, children. At every turn, surrounded by children.

    And, can you believe it? now he’s a Mormon? I wonder when and how that transpired?

  2. MS says:

    Are the Mormons oblivious to this? Do they know what’s going on in Paedophilia? I would think so.

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