- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The chief executive officer of a historic central Pennsylvania mansion and museum has been jailed on federal child-sex and pornography charges.

Christopher G. Lee, 65, of Boalsburg, pleaded not guilty after his arrest Thursday and remained jailed after appearing before a federal magistrate.

Lee heads the Boal Mansion Museum in Boalsburg, about 140 miles east of Pittsburgh. The homestead features furnishings and artifacts from the Boal family, which founded the town where the museum is located, and the Farmers High School, which eventually became Penn State University.

U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said the illegal acts with the minors occurred between January and June on the museum premises, where students from across the United States and other countries volunteer to work as guides.

A three-page indictment contains few details, but contends Lee tried to coerce a 17-year-old to travel across state lines in phone and computer communications and did transport an unnamed child across state lines for illegal sexual activity. Lee also is charged with receiving unspecified child pornography, including images of children younger than 12.

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said at a news conference Thursday that her office still is working with State College police, the FBI and the state attorney general’s office as part of an ongoing investigation. The alleged 17-year-old victim first contacted State College police about Lee’s alleged contact, which occurred the first night the teen stayed at the Boal Mansion.

Lee faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted of the interstate transportation charge and five years to life on the child pornography charge.

His attorney, Joseph Amendola, didn’t immediately return a call for comment Friday.

Amendola was the defense attorney when former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting several boys and sent to prison for decades in a scandal that rocked the university. In the aftermath, Coach Joe Paterno was fired and the NCAA leveled sanctions against the school and its football team. Paterno has since died.

Court records indicate Amendola also was Lee’s attorney when he was charged in 2005 with indecent assault and other crimes for allegedly fondling two boys, ages 10 and 8, who were staying overnight at the Boal Mansion.

Lee eventually was given nine months’ probation in a first-offenders’ program that didn’t require him to plead guilty, and later had his arrest record partially expunged.

Museum officials didn’t immediately return calls for comment.

Lee also is a supervisor in Harris Township, where officials told the Centre Daily Times they’re monitoring the legal situation but otherwise not commenting.

Lee ran as a Democrat against state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff two years ago. The incumbent Republican defeated Lee in the 171st District state House race.

Federal court records indicate a judge has scheduled jury selection for a trial to begin Dec. 1 in federal court in Williamsport.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide