HONG KONG – An American man accused of raping his daughter and posting the videos on the Internet has agreed to be extradited from Hong Kong to the United States, his lawyer said Monday.
Kenneth John Freeman, a former reserve sheriff's deputy on the U.S. Marshals 15 most-wanted list, has been challenging the extradition request since he was arrested while traveling in Hong Kong in May.
But his lawyer, Giles Surman, told a Hong Kong court on Monday that "after due consideration, Freeman decided he will consent to surrender and be sent to the United States." The extradition process could take three to six weeks, Surman said.
But the attorney added, "Freeman maintains his innocence."
The judge, Wahab Abu Bakar bin, consented to Freeman's extradition, but final approval must come from Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang.
Freeman, 44, a computer adviser, bodybuilder and reserve sheriff's deputy, fled his home in Seattle last year after his 17-year-old daughter told her mother that he had assaulted her four years earlier.
The teenager also told her story on national television, which helped identify her as the victim in a series of child pornography videos on the Internet, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
Freeman allegedly distributed those videos on the Internet.
Freeman was charged in Benton County Superior Court in Washington state with three counts of child rape and jumping bail. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted.
He also faces federal charges of producing and distributing child pornography.
He flew from Vancouver, Canada, to Hong Kong in March 2006, then to China, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Working with Chinese authorities, U.S. investigators tracked down Freeman in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou near Shanghai, where he is believed to have been working as a computer consultant for a U.S.-based company.
Freeman was arrested in May at Hong Kong's border with mainland China.
Authorities waited to arrest Freeman in Hong Kong because mainland China does not have an extradition treaty with the United States. Although Hong Kong is part of China, the former British colony is governed separately and has its own legal system.