State appeals court upholds doctor's conviction

The trial for a former Augusta area physician convicted of sexually assaulting a child was fair and the conviction will stand, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled.

In an opinion released last week, the court found none of the alleged errors cited by Jerry J. Lee II presented any reason to overturn the aggravated sexually battery charge for which he is serving 20 years in prison.

A Columbia County Superior Court jury convicted Mr. Lee, 50, of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl in May 2005. Mr. Lee, who had lost his license to practice medicine two years earlier, claimed he was only performing a gynecological procedure.

Mr. Lee faced multiple lawsuits and other criminal charges in the years leading up to the molestation. He left Moultrie, Ga., under a professional cloud and came to Augusta, where Doctors Hospital refused him privileges in 2002.

Mr. Lee was charged with aggravated assault and sexual battery after Columbia County sheriff's officers found his wife covered with cuts and bruises, one of which covered her left backside from waist to knee. Candice Lee refused to testify against her husband in a September 2002 bench trial. Mr. Lee was convicted only of misdemeanor battery, and Chief Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced him to a year of probation as a first offender.

In February 2003, after a bench trial before Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr., Mr. Lee was acquitted of weapon charges. He testified he didn't know an AK-15 rifle in his home had been converted to be fully automatic.

He moved to Hazlehurst, Ga., after his legal troubles in the Augusta area. By May 2003, the physicians' disciplinary board had suspended his medical license after allegations of drug use.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.