Trial pushed back for woman accused of sexual assault

The trial for a Sterling woman accused of sexually assaulting a minor has been delayed to accommodate attorney schedules and the sharing of information.

Laurel Lee was charged with first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor on Oct. 1, 2014. Alaska State Troopers say she yanked a 14-year-old boy off his bicycle, took him into the woods near the Sterling Highway and sexually assaulted him.

At her trial call at the Kenai Courthouse on Wednesday, Lee’s trial week was pushed back to Jan. 19 to allow for the transfer of Office of Children Services records to all the parties that need them. Lee’s defense attorney, DinaMarie Cale, also said she needs more time to get the results of independent DNA tests the defense is conducting.

One item being tested is a swab sample, and “there are black pants that belonged to Laurel Lee that are being tested,” Cale said.

Lee, Cale and Taylor Winston from the Alaska Office of Victim’s Rights appeared at the hearing over the phone, while District Attorney Scot Leaders appeared in the place of Assistant District Attorney Kelly Lawson, who he said is on leave.

Winston did not oppose pushing the trial back, though she said the boy’s family is “anxious for closure.”

Lee’s status hearing originally scheduled for Oct. 20 has been delayed to Nov. 25. Lawson now has until Oct. 30 to decide whether to proceed with the case.

Kidnapping and sexual assault in the first degree are both unclassified felonies. They each carry a punishment of 20 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. If convicted of the charge of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor — a class B felony — Lee faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

If convicted, she would be required to register as a sex offender.

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

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Jordan Chilson votes in favor of an ordinance he sponsored seeking equitable access to baby changing tables during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs ordinance seeking to increase access to baby changing tables

The ordinance requires all newly constructed or renovated city-owned and operated facilities to include changing tables installed in both men’s and women’s restrooms

Joel Caldwell shows off the new Tecnam Traveller on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. Kenai Aviation has since added two more Tecnam Travellers to its fleet. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Aviation adds 3rd plane to commuter service, readies for busy summer schedule

Kenai Aviation plans to increase its schedule to include 18 flights a day running seven days a week

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Kelley Cizek, right, speaks as Jason Tauriainen, Patti Truesdell and Penny Vadla listen during a special meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s school board in Soldotna on Monday.
‘They deserve better than this’

School board passes budget with broad swath of cuts, including pools, theaters and some support staff

The Alaska State Capitol on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Juneau, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska House passes budget with roughly $2,275 payments to residents, bill goes to Senate

The bill also includes a roughly $175 million, one-time increase in aid to school districts that would be paid according to a funding formula

The Kenai River flows near Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 10, 2024. The Riverfront Redevelopment project will impact much of Soldotna’s riverside areas downstream to the bridge. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna riverfront redevelopment planning moves forward

Soldotna City Council on Monday unanimously approved the creation of a project manager to shepherd the Riverfront Redevelopment Project

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Corey Cannon, who plays baseball as part of Soldotna Little League, speaks to the Soldotna City Council during their meeting in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Soldotna Little League receives donation for facility repairs

The city owns the fields, but the Little League leases the land and is responsible for the maintenance of the facilities

Most Read