was an former childrens TV host/entertainer who joined the LDS church in the 1990's; pleaded guilty to one count of indecent behavior with a child; The crime took place in the 1970's

Case Summary

Frank Selas/Szeles, AKA “Mr. Wonder,” was a former children’s TV host/entertainer and a Mormon church member in California. He was convicted of a sex crime which he perpetrated in the late 1970s while on a camping trip.

While Floodlit typically does not include an accused person in our database if they were not an active LDS church member at the time their offense or alleged offense, we have decided to Selas/Szeles because he was a well known entertainer in a significant number of geographical regions and therefore may have had other victims.

Selas died in 2021.

Case Title: DEFENDANT FRANK JOHN SELAS
Case Number: CD265237 Case Location: San Diego
Case Type: Criminal Date Filed: 01/27/2016

Defendant
Last Name First Name Birth Year AKA DA Number
SELAS FRANK JOHN 1939 ADZ18501

Imaged Case
This case has not been imaged.

Microfilm
Microfilm ID Location Reel Number Frame Number
This case has not been microfilmed.

Sources
  1. San Diego Case Frank Selas/Szeles/ Case number : CD265237
    view source details | 27 Jan 2016 | Superior Court of California, County of San Diego

  2. view source details | 18 Jan 2018 | New York Post
  3. Done with state sentence, feds now seek to try 'Mr. Wonder'
    view source details | 26 Sep 2018 | Town Talk
Sources excerpts
  • San Diego Case Frank Selas/Szeles/ Case number : CD265237
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Superior Court of California, County of San Diego
    Date published/accessed: 27 Jan 2016
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list

    Source type: News article
    Publisher: New York Post
    Date published/accessed: 18 Jan 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Frank John Selas III, 78, pleaded guilty to one count of indecent behavior with a child before a judge in Alexandria sentenced him, Assistant District Attorney Brian Mosley said in a statement.

    With credit for time served since his January 2016 arrest in California, Selas could be eligible for parole as soon as July, his attorney said.

    Selas had faced the possibility of life in prison if convicted of two counts of aggravated rape, three counts of sexual battery and eight counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile. All of those charges related to one child who had been on the 1979 camping trip, according to defense attorney J. Michael Small.

    In the late 1970s, Selas hosted the “Mr. Wonder” show on KNOE-TV in north Louisiana. He allegedly fled to Brazil in 1979 after parents complained to authorities that he abused their children during a retreat in central Louisiana. By 1985, he had settled in the San Diego area, where he legally changed his name to Frank Szeles. Selas initially claimed that authorities had arrested the wrong person, but a San Diego judge ruled he was the fugitive who had been wanted in Louisiana since 1979.

  • back to online sources list
    Done with state sentence, feds now seek to try 'Mr. Wonder'
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Town Talk
    Date published/accessed: 26 Sep 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Frank John Selas III, known as "Mr. Wonder," finished his state prison sentence back in July, but remains in custody because federal prosecutors in California accuse him of lying on a passport application.

    Selas, 79, was in federal court in Alexandria on Wednesday for what's commonly referred to as an identity hearing. His defense attorney, Mike Small, said he appeared with Selas and stipulated that he was the person referred to in the complaint.
    Frank John Selas circa his time at KNOE-TV in the late 1970s (left) and in his booking mugshot from 2016.

    More:'Mr. Wonder' pleads guilty in decades-old child sex case

    More:Mr. Wonder will register as sex offender after sentence amended

    More:Hilton looks to relocate 'Mr. Wonder' after plea deal

    More:Judge weighs whether 'Mr. Wonder' can bond out on child rape charges

    Small said Selas remains in the custody of U.S. marshals after U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Perez-Montes ordered him held, pending extradition to California.

    In January, Selas pleaded to one felony count of indecent behavior with a juvenile, bringing closure to a case that dated back to 1979. He had been indicted on 11 counts, including two counts of forcible rape.

    Selas was sentenced to the maximum five years in prison, based on sentencing guidelines at the time of the crime. Small said then that he expected Selas to be eligible for release in July.

    Read: United States of America vs. Frank John Selas

    Read: Defense attorney Mike Small statement on Frank John Selas

    And that did happen. But the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of California filed a complaint against Selas on July 16, accusing him of making false statements on a 2014 passport application.

    Because of that, a hold was placed on him so he could not be released unless it was to federal authorities.

    Selas' alter-ego was Mr. Wonder, the host of a children's television show that was broadcast in the 1970s on KNOE-TV in Monroe. In June 1979, he took some boys camping at Valentine Lake outside Alexandria and, after the trip, allegations were made that he sexually abused multiple boys.

    An investigation by the Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office resulted in warrants being issued, but Selas fled the country before he could be arrested. It wasn't until January 2016 that he was found and arrested in Bonita, California, a suburb of San Diego.

    The complaint against Selas revolves around him legally changing his name in July 1992 in a San Diego court from his birth name, Frank John Selas, to Frank John Szeles.

    In 2014, Selas applied for a passport but didn't include his birth name when the application asked for other names he might have used. The complaint also states that Selas denied being wanted on any outstanding federal, state or local felony warrants.

    The passport was issued, and Selas used it on a cruise from the U.S. to Mexico and back, according to the complaint.

    The complaint also references Rapides Sheriff's Detective Stephen Phillips' investigation into the abuse allegations. After Selas' arrest, a search warrant uncovered an undated letter he wrote that mentioned how his father's last name had been changed while he was in school.

    "I'm thinking of going to the original spelling," reads the letter, according to the complaint. "It used to be Szeles ... I think you can understand why I want to change."

    No court dates have been set in California as of Wednesday.

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