This should be filed under "Ripley's Believe it or Not."

September 23, 2007 - 12:30AM

Man skates on charges of lewd acts dating back to ’89
District attorney did not have jurisdiction over George Air Force Base

By RYAN ORR Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE — A man accused of lewd acts with a child recently had the charges dropped because the crime took place in 1989 on George Air Force Base, where the Victorville District Attorney’s office had no jurisdiction.

Arthur Galos, now 49, was in the military and living on the base in 1989. Early in 2007, a relative — whose name was not released by the Victorville District Attorney’s Office — accused Galos of sexual molestation.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Silverman had the burden to prove that it fell under the jurisdiction of the Victorville office.

After extensive research, including talking to the Pentagon and going as far back as when California seceded from Mexico, Silverman concluded that the Superior Court did not have jurisdiction and dismissed the case.

In a letter dated April 16, 1943, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson writes then-California Gov. Earl Warren recognizing that the U.S. accepts exclusive jurisdiction over all lands acquired by it for military purposes within the state of California.

That included George Air Force Base, which at the time was the Victorville Army Airfield.

Many military bases in California, such as Fort Irwin, have a memorandum of understanding that gives the state jurisdiction over crimes that happen on base.

Neither Silverman nor the Pentagon could find any such document regarding George Air Force Base.

Defense attorney George Bird, who represented Galos, said that it calls into question past convictions by the Victorville district
attorney’s office in which the crimes occurred on George Air Force Base.

He said that during a chambers conference in Galos’ case, Superior Court Judge Ann Marie Pace said that she had prosecuted many people for crimes at the base when she was a deputy district attorney.

“I believe, based on the judge’s comments, that there must be hundreds if not thousands of people charged with criminal offenses that were alleged to have occurred at George Air Force Base since 1943 including the very cases this judge prosecuted, which should be recalled with convictions vacated, pleas withdrawn and rights reinstated,