2011 Jan 25: Hamilton in custody after international manhunt

by Gregg MacDonald/Staff Writer

An international manhunt for a Centreville man described by U.S. Marshals as one of the most wanted child sex offenders in the country has ended with the man’s extradition to Fairfax County last week.

Former Little League baseball coach and Centreville resident John E. Hamilton, 39, is back in Fairfax County after being arrested last year as he attempted to enter Poland from the Czech Republic. Hamilton was on the G8 Wanted Child Sex Offender list, making him one of the 10 most wanted alleged child sex offenders in the U.S., according to the U.S. Marshals Service.

Hamilton was taken into custody by Fairfax County police last week.

He faces charges in Fairfax County stemming from at least five allegations of sexual misconduct between 1992 and 2008.

William Sorukas, chief of the International Investigations branch of the U.S. Marshals Service, said authorities also might investigate to see if Hamilton is suspected of any criminal behavior overseas.

“Working with Interpol, we were able to tell where he was while he was in Europe,” Sorukas said Monday.

Hamilton was located Aug. 25 on a bus leaving the Czech Republic for Poland, Sorukas said. He allegedly was traveling under an alias when Polish authorities in the border town of Gliwice detained him, after he refused to show identification and provided evasive answers. Polish border authorities pulled him to the side and subsequently found his U.S. passport.

Hamilton was turned over to the provincial police, who contacted Interpol in Warsaw. Interpol contacted the U.S. Marshals Service to provide confirmation of his identity. U.S. Marshals said they confirmed Hamilton’s identity after sending Polish authorities copies of his fingerprints.

In June 2009, Fairfax County police charged Hamilton with aggravated sexual battery and three counts of indecent liberties with a child by a person in a supervisory relationship. He was indicted by a grand jury, released on bond and scheduled to enter a guilty plea in October 2009, but he failed to appear for his hearing.

U.S. Marshals said that after authorities suspected Hamilton had left the U.S., an Interpol notice was issued for Hamilton and sent to every country in Europe.

Hamilton became the subject of an investigation by Fairfax County police in February 2009, when a 24-year-old man came forward with sexual abuse allegations more than a decade after he had been coached by Hamilton.

Police said the man saw Hamilton with a preteen boy at a convenience store in early 2009 and thought it necessary to come forward with his own story. According to the man, who was 12 at the time of the alleged offense, Hamilton engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with him periodically, from March through July 1997. Police arrested Hamilton in May 2009.

Fairfax police said sodomy allegations were then made by two additional victims — now also adults —who came forward. One is now 21 and the other is 30.

Additional charges also were filed by another alleged victim.

\”They have just come forward, one by one,\” police spokesman Don Gotthardt said last year.

One incident allegedly occurred in the parking lot of Carl Sandburg Middle School in Alexandria. Another allegedly took place at Hamilton’s home at that time, in the 6600 block of Wakefield Drive in the Belle View area. Hamilton was a Little League baseball coach for the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association at the time. Hamilton lived in the Northern Virginia area for decades and held several positions in the athletic community working with children.

According to the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, Hamilton was a baseball coach at Bishop Ireton High School in 1999. The diocese said it was made aware of Hamilton’s charges by police.

\”We notified the players from that year and we have put a notice in our bulletin,\” said Joelle Santolla, director of communications for the diocese.

“I believe my client was getting ready to turn himself in when he was captured,” said Hamilton’s attorney, Steven Merril, on Monday. “He has told me he feels bad for the kids involved. It has been bothering him and he wants to resolve this.”

Hamilton was arraigned in Fairfax County Circuit Court on Monday and is being held without bond. He is scheduled to go to trial March 29.

gmacdonald@fairfaxtimes.com

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2009 Jun 5: Additional Victims Emerge In John Hamilton Sex Offense Case

2009 Oct 29: Community Questions How Indicted Sex Offender Got Away

2010 Jan 12: Former youth coach sought in manhunt for molestation charges

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