CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A teenage girl who was sexually assaulted asked a judge to let the man who attacked her out of jail on Monday, and the judge granted her request.
Michael Lee said little as he stood before a judge handing down his sentence.
It was actually the victim sitting quietly behind him who had the biggest influence on his case.
"I just didn't want to see him go to prison," said the teenage girl, who said Michael Lee
had sex with her wh en she was 15-years-old.
The judge questioned Lee if whether or not he was in fact guilty of those charges, and Lee responded with, "yes sir."
The girl asked that the man who betrayed her trust and admitted to it would walk out of court without spending a day in prison.
She said she had mercy on Lee because he has a father whose health is fading.
"I didn't want to have the thought of him not being able to say goodbye to his dad," said the girl.
She said Lee took advantage of her for about three or four months, but she didn't think anyone would believe her.
"Then the defendant sent a picture of his private area to the victim's phone," said prosecutor Stephanie Hamlin.
"It was like now everybody can actually believe me, believed what I am saying," said the girl.
The girl showed it to police and said at first she wanted Lee to face the maximum punishment: 14 years in prison.
Then she heard Lee's father was frail.
"I grew up without my dad," said the girl.
He died when she was a newborn.
She decided missing the chance to be with your father in his final hours is too much of a punishment.
At her request Lee received probation after serving about seven months in jail.
The prosecutor said she wanted to honor the victim's request at the same time she fought for the stiffest probation possible.
Lee will have to wear a bracelet to track his movements by GPS and he will be required to register as a sex offender for the next 30 years.
She says she wants the next defendant to know that this is a crime the state takes very seriously.
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