April 20, 2006

Ex-pastor faces sex charges

Press and Sun-Bulletin

By Jim Wright
Press & Sun-Bulletin
NORWICH -- A former pastor accused of running off with a 15-year-old girl could be served by the Chenango County District Attorney's Office with sex charges as early as today, Assistant District Attorney Stephen Dunshee, of Sherburne, said Wednesday.

Lewis J. Lee, 54, was apprehended at his Maryland job Monday night, while Elizabeth Thomsen of the Town of Columbus was with him. The Chenango County teenager left home with her family's former pastor March 18. In the past month, the two were spotted as far away as Tennessee.

Lee could face two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, or third-degree rape, a felony, Dunshee said. Both charges will result from incidents Dunshee said occurred in the Town of Sherburne.

"He manipulated her and then had sex with her," Dunshee said following Lee's arraignment Wednesday in Chenango County Court on a felony charge of first-degree custodial interference. "Any sex that occurred was not consensual. She is not of the age where she can give consent. I think what happened here is despicable."

Posted by kshaw at April 20, 2006 02:24 PM