A former Cub Scout leader was sentenced to 14 years in prison this morning for continuous sexual acts with a minor. Franklin Lee, 40, pleaded no contest in August before his preliminary hearing to five felony counts involving a boy under 16 years old. The boy was not a Cub Scout and the assaults were not related to the Sebastopol Cub Scout Pack 128 in Sebastopol. The four years of sexual conduct began in September 2008 when the boy was 12. Some of the offenses occurred in Lee’s Santa Rosa residence, prosecutors said.
Lee’s attorney Ben Adams asked Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert LaForge to sentence Lee to less than 10 years in prison. Lee faced a maximum term of 18 years and 8 months. Deputy District Attorney Chris Honigsberg told the judge that Lee continually made himself available to the boy as a person in a position of trust. Some of the sexual conduct was recorded on videos. LaForge told Lee that his decision to plead no contest early in the case was the only right thing he had done.
“What happened was horrible and ruined the victim’s life,” LaForge said. Lee will serve 85 percent of his term and must register as a sex offender. The victim’s family has filed a civil lawsuit seeking general and specific damages from Lee, attorney Mike Li said. Someone who was required by law to report the sexual conduct brought the incident to light, Li said.
The victim’s brother was in the Boy Scouts and Li said he is investigating whether the Boy Scouts have any liability for damages. Steven Dunn, District Director of the Boy Scouts Redwood Empire Council, said Lee was immediately removed from scouting and permanently banned from participating in the scouting program when the allegations were made. The Redwood Empire Council said the sexual conduct was unrelated to scouting and they were shocked to hear about the allegations. Santa Rosa police arrested Lee on March 28.
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