No jail time for former Lewis & Clark HS student accused of harassment

Former Lewis and Clark High School student Ryan Lee will serve no jail time after taking an Alford plea and formally pleading guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge of harassment.

Instead, Lee will have to pay a $700 fine and serve two years probation. If he violates the terms of his release, he could then face up to 218 days in jail, a judge said.

An Alford plea is a guilty plea in court, but the defendant does not admit to the criminal act and maintains innocence.

Lee was accused of making online threats toward the high school in 2018. Police said he threatened a female student, threatened to shoot her family and sent her pornographic pictures and texts.

As part of Lee’s plea deal, an additional misdemeanor harassment charge and a cyberstalking charge were dropped.

RELATED: Former LCHS student accused of online threats to plead guilty to harassment charge

Lee was in court Thursday as the victim and her parents made impact statements.

Lee’s defense objected, saying only the victim should be the one speaking. Judge Cooney said there were threats to “shoot up LC,” other victims, and they should be allowed to speak.

The victim’s father was the first to speak. He said Lee threatened to rape and sexually mutilate his daughter, but is only getting a slap on the wrist, in reference to his Alford deal. He said the plea agreement is a slap in the face to his family and the high school.

He expressed disappointment with the county prosecuting team and said he believes they should have fought Lee’s defense for a more serious charge.

RELATED: Plea deal reached in Lewis and Clark H.S. threat case

The victim’s mother said the threats destroyed what were supposed to be the greatest years of her daughter’s life.

LCHS Principal Marybeth Smith also spoke, saying Lee told her in an apology letter he made the threats to get attention.

“They will always remember how their high school years were clouded by the events,” Smith said, holding back tears.

Last month, a judge threw out a confession Lee made while under arrest. The judge said officers did not have probable cause to stop a vehicle Lee was riding in. In that case, Lee’s confession was the strongest evidence against him.

RELATED: Judge to decide if confession of former LC student accused of online threats will be thrown out

No jail time for former Lewis & Clark HS student accused of harassment