Child Molester No-No Rule #17: The Case of Judson G. Lee of Mission Viejo
Mission Viejo's Judson Gillard Lee, 33, met "T.M." at a Fourth of July block party and, though the girl was 12 years old and in the 6th grade, it didn't take long for a romance to bud.
Within months, the two were hugging and kissing passionately in public as well as discussing sex.
According to court files, Lee thought he'd found a clever way to legalize an intimate relationship:
If she emailed him a photograph of her breasts, masturbated herself in front of him, sucked his penis and viewed pornographic websites, their affair would be sanctioned by the state of California because "he was not touching her."
(Note to kids: Lee's legal analysis was laughably, dead wrong.)
In March 2008, Lee's adult girlfriend came home to a shock. She found the pair lying on his bed. He was drunk, touching her breasts and asking to "eat her out," according to court records.
Unamused, the woman informed T.M's father, a social worker got involved and then a sheriff's investigator began probing.
At the request of the sheriff's department, the girl's mother called Lee and secretly recorded the call. He admitted that he'd kissed her when he was drunk but explained that T.M's flirting "just never stopped . . . she just kept, you know, pushing and pushing."
When T.M's mother asked Lee if he'd encouraged her daughter to masturbate for him, he said, "[It's] like, you know, you wanna do something? Fine, go ahead and do it."
Police arrested Lee and in July 2010 a jury convicted him on two felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor. Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue sentenced him to five years of formal probation while wearing a GPS device plus 270 days in the Orange County Jail. The judge also prohibited him from possessing photographic equipment, toys, video games or similar items designed for the entertainment of children.
Lee appealed his conviction and punishment by claiming his constitutional rights had been trampled. He said his request for a photo of the minor's breasts was not evidence of sexual contact; that the girl's accounts of events had been demonstrably deceitful; and the girl had turned 14 years old by the time of the last encounter.
(California law goes easier on sexual relations been an adult and a minor who has had a 14th birthday.)
Lee also argued that the conditions of his probation--wearing the GPS device and the banning of photographic equipment and toys--is overly burdensome.
This month, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana considered Lee's complaints and issued a 26-page ruling. A three-justice panel concluded that Lee's conviction and punishments were righteous, but struck the ban on his possession of toys and video games as "unconstitutionally vague and thus invalid."
They also specifically determined that the government had a compelling interest in forcing him to wear a GPS device.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Orange County, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.