Ex-pastor sentenced on rape charges

NORWICH – The Chenango County Courthouse was crowded on Monday when Judge W. Howard Sullivan sentenced Lewis J. Lee to a total of 9 and 1/3 to 28 years in jail. The pastor admitted at an earlier court appearance to having a sexual relationship with Elizabeth Thomsen, a 15-year-old member of his congregation,

Last March, Lee and the girl disappeared for a month after an order of protection was issued on behalf of the teen. After an appearance on “America’s Most Wanted,” a tip led police to Maryland, where Lee and the girl were located.

Marsha Thomsen, Elizabeth’s mother, read a letter to the court in which she asked for the maximum sentence.

“If you do not keep him locked up for a long time, another girl will suffer and another family will experience hell on earth,” Marsha Thomsen said.

Descriptions of the relationship between Lee and the girl are varied, but Lee reportedly gave Elizabeth an engagement ring two years before the abduction, and during their time together performed a mock wedding ceremony between himself and the Sherburne teen.

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