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Judge grants records request in sex assault case - in part

Prosecutors, police ordered to turn over any prior reports of sex assault made by alleged victim

Posted: February 6, 2013 - 9:19pm  |  Updated: February 7, 2013 - 1:09am
Frank W. Lee, 60, who is charged with sexually abusing a woman while she slept, appears in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday.   Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Frank W. Lee, 60, who is charged with sexually abusing a woman while she slept, appears in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday.

Editor’s note: The following story contains a description of an alleged crime of a sexual nature. Readers are encouraged to use their own discretion when deciding whether to read this article.

 

A Juneau judge ordered prosecutors and the Juneau Police Department to turn over any prior reports of sexual assault that may have been made by a 22-year-old woman who is accusing a 60-year-old man of sexual assault.

Judge Louis Menendez granted the pre-trial discovery request for defendant Frank W. Lee on Monday after Lee’s attorney asserted the woman has made “similar and possibly false allegations” of sexual assault in the past. The documents will be subject to an in-camera review by the court, meaning not open to the public or press, and the judge will determine if they are relevant to the case at hand.

If the defense can prove that such accusations have been made in the past and were false, making that testimony admissible at trial, it would allow for the impeachment of the woman’s honesty during cross-examination at trial.

In the same ruling issued Monday, Menendez denied a request by the defense to compel the woman’s cell phone records and text messages at the time surrounding the grand jury proceedings.

Public Defender Eric Hedland argued for those records in part because a citizen-witness, while at a bus stop, testified he overheard the woman tell someone on the phone that in order to make a person “go away”, all you have to do is accuse them of rape and testify before a grand jury.

Menendez says the cell phone and texts request is too broad at this point, but once more precise information (such as dates and times of the calls and the names of the callers involved) is provided to the court, the request can be revisited.

Prosecutors opposed both motions, saying they were overly broad, a fishing expedition for victim-derogatory evidence and not in possession of the state.

Prosecutors say Lee sexually assaulted the woman with his hand and also orally. The woman was sleeping over at Lee’s house after his 60th birthday celebration the night of Sept. 10, 2012. Prosecutors say Lee continued after she awoke.

Lee is charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault, which is an unclassified felony that can carry up to 99 years in prison, and two counts of second-degree sexual assault. He is being held at Lemon Creek Correctional Center in lieu of $100,000 cash performance bond.

He is scheduled to stand trial in June.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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