AURORA (KDVR) — Update, Wednesday, Dec. 22: The vice-chair of the Colorado State Parole Board released this statement to FOX31 Wednesday afternoon, explaining the board’s decision to grant parole to Lee:
This is extremely gut wrenching as this deranged individual preyed on vulnerable individuals – when this was reviewed by the board the individual was participating in offense specific treatment, had met the criteria required to be considered for parole, and medical professionals believed he was at low risk to society to reoffend. This case was considered on these merits in Dec. 2019, granted in January 2020 and had nothing to do with the pandemic.Colorado State Parole Board
Original, Tuesday, Dec. 21: The Aurora Police Department says a 65-year-old man has been accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl after identifying himself as an immigration official.
APD said Kenneth Dean Lee was arrested and charged with sexual assault on a child and first-degree burglary.
Lee had already been sentenced to 23 years to life in prison in 2014 for a series of similar sex assaults. He also pleaded guilty that year to two counts of kidnapping with a sexual factual basis, and he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for those charges.
However, Lee was paroled on April 22, 2020, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Suspect targeted Vietnamese children, women
In Lee’s prior cases, multiple victims reported sexual assault crimes involving Lee since 1996. According to police, all of Lee’s victims were Vietnamese females who ranged in age from 9 to approximately 50.
The recent investigation started in December when the sexual assault on a child was reported in the 1300 block of North Chester Street.
Investigators are looking into allegations that Lee entered a home and identified himself as an immigration official before assaulting the child.
Other allegations were discovered during the course of the investigation. Police believe Lee may have targeted immigrant and refugee families to commit similar assaults.
District attorney responds
Former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler helped prosecute Lee back in 2014 and said he was shocked to see him released so early.
“For a guy that was 58 back in 2014, we thought, that’s it, we’re never going to have to deal with this monster again,” he said. “And it is shocking to conscience that here we are again.”
Brauchler said the Department of Corrections assured his staff that Lee would serve at least 23 years.
“That person who imposed that policy on DOC and made that decision to cut him loose, they are 100% responsible for this guy being in a position to make more victims,” he said. “And that’s exactly what it looks like he’s done.”
Brauchler says someone needs to answer to the release and explain why it happened.
“I want somebody to have the guts to stand up, look at that victim, look at Aurora, and say we made a mistake, we made a mistake, but I’m not going to hold my breath,” he said.
In a statement Tuesday night, current 18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner said:
In 2014, my office prosecuted a man for sexually assaulting children while he disguised himself as an immigration official. We took the case to trial, a jury convicted Kenneth Dean Lee, and the judge sentenced him to 23 years in prison for kidnapping, and 6 years to life for sexual assault on a child, among other crimes.
Now in 2021, that same man is charged with sexually assaulting another little girl after he was paroled early in April 2020. I am incredibly frustrated that a person convicted of sexually violent crimes was released years early and given an opportunity to offend again. I am sure I am not the only one wondering how this could happen.
I think we deserve answers from the Department of Corrections, the Parole Board and the Sex Offender Management Board. I want to know how a convicted sex offender who was found to be a sexually violent predator by the judge was released so early and apparently without adequate monitoring. These victims and their families, and every parent, deserve to know what DOC and the Parole Board are doing to prevent something like this from happening in the future.
In the past this defendant targeted immigrants, thinking they wouldn’t report his crimes. I want to encourage anyone with information about this crime, and any others who might have been victimized, regardless of immigration status, to please come forward and contact the Aurora Police Department.18th Judicial District Attorney John Kellner
Police seek more possible victims
APD is actively seeking additional information, including potential unreported incidences involving the suspect. If anyone has any information or was a victim of Lee, please call the Aurora911 Center at 303-627-3100.
The City of Aurora wants everyone to feel safe reporting these crimes, regardless of their immigration status. Reported allegations will be taken seriously.
How to identify an official immigration official
According to an official with ICE, people who pose as ICE officers and agents attempting to exploit their victims are committing a crime.
These people identify themselves as federal law enforcement officers, employees or contractors of ICE or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and will ask for or demand money, sexual favors, or merchandise from the victim in exchange for lawful immigration status, immigration documents, or other immigration services.
The documents are never provided, or if they are provided, they are are fake. An ICE employee will never ask a member of the public for payment of any type.
You can protect yourself by reporting any fraudulent schemes to the anonymous ICE Tip Line: 1-866-347-2423.
ICE personnel will never:
• Offer lawful immigration status or other immigration services in return for money or a favor.
• Use the internet or telephone to contact a member of the public to offer immigration services in exchange for payment through pre-paid cash cards like GreenDot, or services like Western Union and MoneyGram.
• Use a third-party person to ask for and collect a fee from a member of the public in exchange for immigration services.
• Ask a member of the public for payment of any kind.
Real Homeland Security Investigations officials wear badges that are labeled “Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent,” which members of the public can ask to see and verify. ICE officers with Enforcement and Removal Operations wear badges labeled “ICE Officer.” They also carry credentials with their name and organization.
Members of the public who receive such visitors should ask to see these properly labeled badges and their credentials.