Former Harris Township supervisor and Boal Mansion CEO Christopher Lee is seeking to be released from prison for health reasons and asking for separate trials on the charges that put him there.
Lee has been held at Columbia County Prison since his arrest on child sex charges in October, and his health has deteriorated since then, according to a filing made in federal court Friday. The filing states that Lee suffers from vertigo and that he was prescribed a change in diet and extra exercise, both of which have been denied by the prison warden.
Kyle Rude, Lee’s attorney, wrote in the motion that Lee would be willing to surrender his passport and be subject to “intensive supervision” through electronic monitoring as conditions of release. He also argued that Lee should be released because he does not pose a danger to the community nor is a flight risk, pointing to his ties to Boalsburg and the fact that no history exists of attempted flight when Lee was confronted with previous charges, search warrants and investigations.
Lee faced indecent assault and other charges in another incident involving minors in 2005. Those charges never went to trial and Lee was placed in Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. His home was first searched by State College police last June in an investigation that led to his federal indictment in October on enticement, transport of a minor with intent to engage in sexual activity and child pornography charges.
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Assistant United States Attorney Meredith Taylor, who is prosecuting the case, objects to Lee’s release, according to the filing. Lee has previously motioned to be freed using much of the same reasons as to why he won’t run, saying he does not pose a threat to the community, expressing willingness to give up his passport and agreeing to electronic monitoring and regular supervision.
A previous request was denied by U.S. District Judge Matthew Brann in November.
Additional charges of evidence tampering and attempting to produce child pornography were added against Lee in March. Another Friday filing asked Brann to separate the enticement and transport charges from the others and order two separate trials.
Rude argues that the child pornography and evidence tampering charges are not “of the same or similar character” nor “based on the same act or transaction” to the others because it was never alleged Lee used child pornography to entice an adolescent and evidence from each set of charges were obtained through separate search warrants and investigations.
Trying all of the charges together could also prejudice a jury against Lee, the filing states, because the child pornography charges would “suggest unfairly to the jury that he possesses the inclination or propensity to entice adolescent males to engage in sexual activity.”
Lee maintains his innocence on all counts. A trial with Brann presiding is scheduled to begin June 1 in Williamsport.