News

Former Montgomery County Man Pleads Guilty to Holding a Teenage Girl in Involuntary Servitude


Brought a 14 Year Old Nigerian Girl to the U.S., Held Her Against Her Will
and Sexually Abused Her

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2008

GREENBELT, Maryland - George Udeozor, age 52, formerly of Darnestown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to holding a Nigerian girl in involuntary servitude, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Grace Chung Becker.

“George Udeozor violated the prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude, which is a bedrock principle of American law,” said United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and federal and state agencies and nonprofit organizations, in conjunction with Maryland’s Human Trafficking Task Force, to locate human trafficking victims and prosecute perpetrators.”

"The defendant stole part of the victim's youth by sexually abusing and forcing a teenage African girl to serve as a domestic servant for over one year," stated Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's guilty plea and restitution order hopefully can provide some measure of solace and closure to this sad chapter in the victim's life as she embarks on a brighter future."

“Forcing a helpless and innocent girl into a life of servitude while inflicting physical violence is simply intolerable," said James A. Dinkins, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Baltimore. “ICE is committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves and will continue to work in partnership with federal prosecutors, non-governmental organizations and the public at large to ensure that those who engage in such unconscionable crimes are brought to justice.”

According to his plea agreement, in September 1996, George Udeozor traveled to Nigeria and using the passport of his oldest daughter, smuggled a 14 year old Nigerian girl to his home in Maryland. He and his then-wife, Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, used the girl as an unpaid domestic servant and child care provider for their six children for approximately five years, from October 1996 to October 28, 2001. The victim cooked, cleaned the home, did laundry and took care of the Udeozor children. During that time, the victim was physically abused.

The Udeozors did not send the victim to school and did not pay the victim or her family for her work. At times, the victim also worked in Adaobi Stella Udeozor’s medical offices, for which she did not receive compensation. The Udeozors compelled the victim’s labor by inflicting verbal and physical abuse on her, including when she purportedly did not do her work correctly. They threatened the victim with arrest and deportation if she left the home. Additionally, from sometime after the fall of 1997 when the victim was just 15 years old, until the time George Udeozor left the United States in late 1999 to return to Nigeria, George Udeozor had sexual intercourse with the victim in the Udeozor home. He warned the victim not to tell anyone about those episodes.

On October 28, 2001, the victim called the police, who took her to a homeless shelter.

George Udeozor was extradited from Nigeria in February 2008.

George Udeozor faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release. As part of his plea agreement, Udeozor has agreed to pay $110,249.60 in restitution to the victim. Udeozor also admits as part of his plea agreement that his sentence may be enhanced because: he knew or should have known that the victim was a “vulnerable victim”; the victim was held in a condition of involuntary servitude for over one year; and the offense of harboring an illegal alien was committed during the offense of involuntary servitude. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte scheduled sentencing for October 7, 2008 at 9:30 a.m.

Dr. Adaobi Stella Udeozor, age 49, of Darnestown, Maryland, was convicted in November 2004 by a federal jury following a six week trial and sentenced to 87 months in prison for conspiracy to commit involuntary servitude and harboring an alien for financial gain. The jury also returned three special findings relating to sentencing, concluding that the victim was held in a condition of involuntary servitude for over one year; that the offense of harboring an illegal alien was committed during the offense of involuntary servitude; and that the defendant knew or should have known that the victim was a “vulnerable victim.” Her conviction and sentence was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on February 1, 2008.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for their investigative work performed in this case. Mr. Rosenstein also praised Assistant United States Attorney Mythili Raman and trial attorney Kathleen Monaghan, of the Criminal Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who are prosecuting the case.

 

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