- Wanted By The FBI (06/01/2001)
- Former inline hockey coach sought by FBI on child molestation charges. (06/01/2001)
- FBI hunting former coach accused of molesting kids (05/16/2002)
- Man wanted on molestation charges last seen in March (05/23/2002)
- Convicted Killer Scheduled to Be Executed Tonight; New Developments in Michael Jackson Trial (05/12/2005)
- Alleged child molester returned to O.C. (07/06/2005)
- Alleged Orange County child molester arrested in Israel (07/07/2005)
- Accused O.C. Child Molester Is Caught (07/07/2005)
- Molestation suspect on way back (07/07/2005)
- Fugitive denied bail in molestation case (07/19/2005)
- Alleged California child molester arrested in Israel denied bail (07/19/2005)
- 'You Are Just a Nasty Pedophile' - Former youth-sports coach faces victims' families at sentencing (09/06/2007)
Michael Zeve coached at Wayne Gretzky's Roller Hockey Center
By Eric Johnson
Irvine World News
The FBI is hunting an Irvine man - accused of continuously sexually abusing at least three young children - who's been on the run since November.
Michael Leon Zeve, 27, a former coach at Wayne Gretzky's Roller Hockey Center on Barranca, was due to stand trial last fall on five counts of lewd conduct with a child, but fled a day before his trial was to begin.
Agents believe he used his position as a coach to lure children into sexual encounters, which he filmed.
During a search of his home in November 2000, FBI agents found homemade videos which showed Zeve molesting at least three different children on three different occasions.
The children appeared to be under the age of 14 and it appeared Zeve knew the children.
Agents also found child pornography on Zeve's computer. The search warrant was granted based on downloaded child pornography traced to Zeve.
Zeve was arrested on Nov. 8, 2000, for lewd acts with a child and possession of child pornography, but was released on bail.
After finding and questioning the children in the videos, investigators determined that Zeve met the children while coaching a roller hockey team at the hockey center.
According to the FBI statement: "These children were befriended by Zeve and in some instances, given alcohol prior to being asked to perform certain sexual acts."
Because the children appeared to be getting older in the videos, it's believed the molestation occurred over a long period of time. He was arrested again Nov. 30, and again posted bail.
He was allowed to post bail because he wasn't considered a flight risk or a danger to others.
The FBI added a new charge to Zeve's plate last week - unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, Agent Julie McWilliams said.
He was facing a sentence of 25 years to life if convicted of all counts.
Zeve is described as a white male with brown eyes, brown hair, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 220 pounds.
Anyone with information should call the FBI at (310) 477-6565.
By Eric Johnson and Jonathon Voltzke
Irvine World News - May 23, 2002
Fugitive Michael Leon Zeve was last seen at the Albertson's on Alton Parkway in Westpark Plaza in March, according to an FBI wanted poster.
Zeve, 27, faces five counts of lewd conduct with a child. During a search of his home in November 2000, FBI agents found videotapes allegedly showing Zeve molesting three different children.
He bolted a day before his trial was to begin last November and now faces another charge - unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Agents believe Zeve used his position as a volunteer roller hockey coach at the Wayne Gretzky Roller Hockey Center to lure in his victims.
Doug Jones, general manager of the hockey center, said Zeve had not coached there in at least three years.
The rink is cooperating with authorities, he said.
Zeve was arrested in November 2000 after the search of his home. They found child pornography and videos of Zeve molesting three teen-agers, Special Agent Mark Hunter said.
The youths, identified from the tapes and interviewed by authorities, were plied with alcohol and molested at hotels and at Zeve's house, Hunter said.
The arrest was not publicized. Hunter said authorities are counting on the public's help in finding Zeve, who owned Spectrum Computer of Orange County, an online computer software company.
He attended Woodbridge High School.
"He's my son, but I haven't seen him," Robert Zeve said from the home he shared with his son. "I don't know anything about him."
He is known to have friends and family in San Jose, Denver, Charlotte, N.C., and Illinois, according to the FBI. He was born in Michigan.
Zeve's former players and their parents said the man authorities seek is not the man they remember.
"It's too bad," said Kris Mungo, whose son Vince played on championship all-star squads for Zeve three years ago. "He was very dedicated ... he spent a lot of time with the kids. Never once did I have a question."
CNN - May 12, 2005
. . . Very quickly to tonight`s all-points bulletin. FBI and law enforcement across the country on the lookout for this man, Michael Leon Zeve, wanted by the FBI for alleged sex encounters with children under 14 between `96 and 2000 in California, 6`2``, 220 pounds, brown eyes. If you have info on Zeve, call the FBI, 310-477-6565.. . .
Accused O.C. Child Molester Is Caught
By David Haldane
Los Angeles Times - July 7, 2005
Man charged in 2000 with assaulting three children in Irvine is arrested in Israel. He had vanished the day before trial.
An alleged child molester who disappeared on the eve of his trial 3 1/2 years ago has been arrested in Israel and will be returned to face charges in Orange County next week, authorities said Wednesday.
Michael Leon Zeve, 31, is accused of molesting three children under the age of 14 from 1996 to 2000 while living in Irvine, where he worked as a computer technician and coached a children's roller hockey team.
After befriending two children on his team and another in his neighborhood, prosecutors allege, Zeve gave them alcohol, molested them repeatedly and made videotapes of the sexual encounters over a period of years.
He was arrested in November 2000, released on bond, rearrested the same month when new charges were added and released on bond again.
On Nov. 14, 2001, the day before Zeve was scheduled to appear in court, he disappeared.
"This is somebody we've been looking for for years," FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
Zeve resurfaced this year in Tel Aviv, she said, where local authorities had arrested him under the name Aaron Michael on suspicion of molesting children there. After learning Zeve's real name, Eimiller said, a female acquaintance of his "did some research on the Internet and discovered that this was one and the same as the individual wanted in Orange County."
The woman contacted the FBI, "and everything worked out beautifully. She should be commended," Eimiller said.
On June 29, Zeve was extradited to New York City, where he remains in FBI custody. Plans are for an Orange County sheriff's investigator to fly there to bring him back early next week.
"He fled the first time, so he definitely won't be out on bail," sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said. "It's time to face the music."
OC Register - July 7, 2005
IRVINE – A man who became a fugitive on the eve of his Orange County molestation trial was arrested in Israel and is due back by the end of the week, the FBI announced Wednesday.
Michael Leon Zeve, 31, is accused of sexual encounters with children under the age of 14 in Irvine from 1996 to 2000.
Zeve, who fled a day before his November 2001 trial, was apprehended in Tel Aviv late last month, the FBI's Laura Eimiller said.
He had been arrested earlier in the year on suspicion of child molestation in Tel Aviv. His connection to the Irvine case was revealed when a source in Israel searched the Internet and discovered that he had fled Orange County, Eimiller said.
Zeve was returned to New York on June 29 and is expected to be back in Orange County this week to face prosecution, Eimiller said.
Zeve allegedly met two of the Irvine children while coaching a roller-hockey team. Another child lived in his neighborhood. After befriending the youngsters, Zeve gave them alcohol and molested them, prosecutors charge.