AURORA, Colo. — A 65-year-old man who was released on parole and wearing an ankle monitor after convictions for similar crimes is accused of impersonating an immigration official and sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl in her own home, an affidavit for his arrest says.
On Dec. 9, Aurora Police (APD) officers began investigating the reported assault involving the girl which happened around noon at a home in the 1300 block of North Chester Street.
Kenneth Dean Lee was released on parole from the Department of Corrections (DOC) on April 22, 2020, according to a spokesperson. He was arrested on Dec. 10, and police said he faces charges of sexual assault on a child and first-degree burglary.
Officers were told a man, later identified as Lee, entered a residence, identified himself as an immigration official, and proceeded to assault the victim, according to police.
According to the affidavit, Lee knocked on the door of the apartment and specifically asked for the girl by name and said he needed to speak with her alone in a bedroom.
The two were alone in the room for about five minutes before he left the room and the apartment, the affidavit says. Someone at the home then went into the bedroom and found the girl lying on a bed under covers, according to the document. The girl eventually told that person that the man had touched her, and that person called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to the affidavit. That person learned that no agents had been dispatched to the home, the affidavit says.
When questioned later, the girl told authorities she had never seen the man before and had never seen a picture of him, according to the affidavit.
A family member told authorities that after knocking, Lee walked into their apartment without being invited or allowed in and spoke mostly in English, the affidavit says. The family speaks primarily Spanish and had to call their apartment manager to assist with translation, the affidavit says.
Security cameras later captured a man leaving the area who matched the description given by the family, the affidavit says. Police were also able to obtain a license plate from the vehicle using the video footage and linked the vehicle to Lee, who is classified as a sexually violent predator.
The victim also positively identified Lee from a photo lineup, according to the affidavit.
Police said the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office is reviewing the case and the department's Victim Services Unit is working closely with the family.
Lee was on parole and wearing an ankle monitor, the affidavit says. The coordinates from the GPS device placed him in the area where the assault occurred around the time it was reported, according to the affidavit.
Lee has a criminal history with a pattern of similar allegations, and it is believed he specifically targeted immigrant and refugee families, police said.
The district attorney's office said Lee was sentenced to 23 years to life in 2014 in connection to a series of sexual assaults between August and October of 2010. Investigators said he claimed to be an immigration doctor to gain access to the victims' homes.
Investigators working the 2010 case also linked Lee to a series of 1996 sexual assaults in Aurora and said he also impersonated an immigration doctor while committing those crimes, according to the district attorney's office.
Lee was also charged for those crimes, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison to be served concurrently with the other 2014 sentence.
The victims in the 1996 and 2010 incidents were all Vietnamese females between the ages of 9 and 50.
"The defendant stated he picked the families by going through a phonebook and looking for Vietnamese last names," the district attorney's office said in the 2014 release. "The defendant admitted to 2 – 6 more victims above and beyond the named victims in the case. The victims outside these two cases are unknown to this day."
District Attorney John Kellner said Lee was paroled in April 2020.
With time served pretrial and after, Lee was in custody for about 10 years--not even half of that 23-year sentence.
Kellner was not the DA at the time of the prosecution, or the 2020 release. He took office in January 2021.
A spokesperson for Kellner's office said the attorney who prosecuted this case was notified when Lee was paroled.
Kellner said his office is looking into why Lee was released from prison prior to the most recent allegations.
"I think we deserve answers from the Department of Corrections, the Parole Board and the Sex Offender Management Board," Kellner said in a statement Tuesday night. "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."
A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that people who pose as ICE agents to exploit their victims are committing a crime:
"These criminals 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 provided, are fake. An ICE employee will never ask a member of the public for payment of any type."
The spokesperson said real ICE and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) officers wear badges and carry credentials with their name and organization.
Anyone can report a fraudulent schemes to the anonymous ICE Tip Line: 1-866-347-2423.
Anyone with information about crimes possibly involving Lee is asked to contact investigators at 303-627-3100.
The full statement from Kellner is below:
“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.”
Anyone with information can also call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or visit metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers works by assigning a code to people who anonymously submit a tip. Information is shared with law enforcement, and Crime Stoppers is notified at the conclusion of the investigation.
From there, an awards committee reviews the information provided and, if the information leads to an arrest, the tipster will be notified. Rewards can be collected using the code numbers received when the tip was originally submitted.
> More information about Metro Denver Crime Stoppers can be found here.
> Additional Crime Stoppers bulletins can be found here.
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