Sunday, June 13, 2010

Aurora pastor sentenced for sex assault on young girl

Aurora pastor sentenced for sex assault on young girl

June 12, 2010

By ERIKA WURST Chicago Suburban News
ST. CHARLES TOWNSHIP -- An Aurora pastor was sentenced to 19 years in prison Friday for sexually assaulting a young girl over two years, the Kane County state's attorney's office said.

Lee Palmer, 63, of the 0-99 block of South East Street, pleaded guilty on April 15 to two counts of felony predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse for engaging in sexual acts with a girl under the age of 13 between September 2006 and September 2008, prosecutors said.

According to prosecutors, the acts occurred in Palmer's home, not at the church where he had worked. The victim was someone Palmer knew, prosecutors said. They did not identify Palmer's church.

In determining Palmer's sentence Friday, Judge Thomas Mueller found that Palmer, as a clergyman, was in a position of trust and authority over the victim when the crimes occurred.

Mueller also cited Palmer's unwillingness to accept responsibility for his actions, stating that the man told investigators that he was "overcome by the demon of lust," that the victim was "asking for it," and that the victim was "in heat," when the assaults occurred, prosecutors said.

Palmer must register for life as a sex offender. Palmer received 8 years in prison for each felony assault conviction and three years for the sexual abuse conviction. The terms will be served consecutively, prosecutors said.

Palmer must serve 85 percent of the 16-year assault sentences, and at least half of his 3-year abuse sentence, prosecutors said.

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