Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion  In this Tuesday, May 24 photo, Laural Lee, 52, listens to closing arugments during the sixth day of trial at the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska. Lee was charged with kidnapping, sexual assualt and sexual abuse of a minor in 2014 after being accused of attacking a then-14-year-old boy near the Sterling Highway.

Photo by Megan Pacer/Peninsula Clarion In this Tuesday, May 24 photo, Laural Lee, 52, listens to closing arugments during the sixth day of trial at the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska. Lee was charged with kidnapping, sexual assualt and sexual abuse of a minor in 2014 after being accused of attacking a then-14-year-old boy near the Sterling Highway.

Lee found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor

 

Sterling resident Laurel Lee has been found guilty of one count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.

After more than a day of deliberation, a jury returned their verdict Wednesday in the case where Lee was accused of kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Lee was charged with the three counts on Oct. 1, 2014, after it was reported to Alaska State Troopers that she pulled a 14-year-old boy off his bike near the Sterling Highway, took him into the woods and forced oral sex on him.

The jury returned their verdict after a six-day trial. They found her not guilty on the first two counts.

Lee, 52, became visibly upset after hearing the verdict. She was eventually led out of the courtroom.

Lee’s defense attorney, Dina Cale, had taken the position throughout the trial that Lee was the one who was sexually assaulted. Lee chose not to testify.

“I got raped,” she shouted as she was led out. “I got raped, violently. Violently got raped. And now I’m in prison.”

Kenai Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman scheduled Lee’s sentencing for the sexual abuse of a minor charge for 3 p.m., Sept. 7, at the Kenai Courthouse. A pre-sentence report is due 30 days before the sentencing. Cale said she believes the verdicts were inconsistent, in which case she said she has time to file for a new trial.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lawson disagreed, saying the verdicts were consistent.

Based on the verdicts, she said she thought it was clear the jury had not been convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of certain elements of the charges that would have needed to be proved by the state for Lee to be found guilty.

“Just to clarify, with sexual abuse of a minor there’s no requirement of any amount of force or without consent, because of course a minor cannot consent under that age,” Lawson said.

Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree is a class B felony, and carries a presumptive range of 5-15 years in prison if it is a person’s first felony conviction.

 

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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