An HIV-positive Navy chaplain was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to forcible sodomy and other charges.
Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Lee, 42, of Burke, Va., was sentenced after entering a plea agreement at his court-martial at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in northern Virginia. Lee admitted having sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing that he had HIV and forcing himself on a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman.
Marine spokesman Maj. Tim Keefe said after Thursday’s hearing that nobody is known to have contracted HIV from Lee.
Lee, a Catholic priest, was assigned to the academy from 2003 to 2006 and later to Quantico. He was relieved of his duties in June.
The forcible sodomy occurred in the fall of 2004, when the midshipman was in his junior year. The midshipman, who was not identified, had previously received counseling from Lee, and said he allowed Lee to perform oral sex on him because he was intimidated by Lee’s status as a chaplain.
“This was a priest. This was a guy who knew all of my darkest secrets,” the victim, now a Navy ensign, testified during the trial’s sentencing phase.
Lee was ordained as a priest in 1993 and began serving as a military chaplain in 1996. His faculties to function as a priest were revoked in June, after an accuser came forward, said Julia Rota, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, which oversees Catholic priests in the military.
In addition to sodomy, Lee was charged with conduct unbecoming a military officer, aggravated assault and indecent assault and fraternization.