A Mississippi man pleaded guilty to sexual battery on Wednesday, of a 15-year-old girl he was fostering.
Madison County District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced that Michael Anthony Lee, 41, pleaded guilty to the charge. At the time of the incident, Lee was living with his wife and the two of them were foster parents registered and licensed with the Mississippi Department of Human Services.
The agency placed a 15-year-old girl into the Lee’s care, and according to a press release from Bramlett, Lee began engaging in sexual contact with the girl shortly thereafter.
Lee continued to abuse the victim during the six months she lived in the home. Once the foster child was moved to another home in north Mississippi, a new foster parent discovered Lee sent sexually explicit text messages to the victim.
The new foster parents notified Child Protective Services and an investigation was launched involving the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and CPS.
During the investigation, a search warrant was executed on Lee’s phone, which contained pornographic images of the foster child.
Lee pleaded guilty to sexual battery and faces up to 30 years in prison.
Bramlett said Lee will not be eligible for parole or early release and he is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 31.
“Children in our foster system have already had to deal with so much,” Bramlett said in the release. “For a foster parent to then sexually abuse a child in their care is beyond horrible. I commend CPS, the Madison Sheriff’s Office, and the assistant district attorneys in our office for their outstanding work on this case which resulted in this guilty plea. I applaud the courage and strength of this child.”