Bryan D. Lee, Cruiser video showed a State Highway Patrol trooper flirting with two women in a car he had stopped for suspected drunk driving and that he turned off his microphone so what he said couldn’t be recorded. That incident in September 2013 alarmed his supervisors and led to an investigation by the patrol and later FBI agents who found much more serious issues with Bryan D. Lee, 30, of Lancaster. The former trooper was found to have coerced sex from females he stopped or arrested, photographed sexual encounters with his cell phone and stalked some of his victims on social media, according to U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart’s office, It led to Lee pleading guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Columbus to four counts of violating the civil rights of four female motorists and one count of engaging in cyber stalking. He will be sentenced later. (OSP photo 2012)
An Ohio Highway Patrol trooper advertised on Craigslist that he was available for traffic stop sex – just days before he sexually groped a drunken, handcuffed woman on the side of a road during an accident investigation, according to newly released records.
Using the alias ‘Troy Castle’ former trooper Bryan Lee posted on Craigslist on November 5, 2010: “…I am in Law Enforcement so if the idea of traffic stop sex sounds good let me know. i work today till 10 so that way you’ll be back home in time. I am a real person and am looking to meet up.”
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A second posting four days later said: “how about a cop you must (expletives) to get out of being arrested. if that sounds fun i can fulfill that fantasy.”
On Nov. 19, 2010, Lee responded to a car wreck involving a woman identified as “NS,” who failed field sobriety tests. Lee turned off his body microphone, groped NS’s breasts while she was handcuffed and rubbed his genitals against her. He drove her home and released her to her mother.
NS filed a complaint against Lee in February 2011 but patrol investigators quickly concluded that the victim was lying and threatened her with criminal charges for filing a false police report.
“It was very clear after interviewing Ms. S that her story has changed several times. It was clear she lied to her attorney when she originally made the allegations to him. His reaction to the way she answered my questions clearly took him by surprise,” wrote Sgt. D. Bryan Kirk in a report in February 2011.
Lee, who joined the patrol in January 2006, is from a family of police officers: his dad is a retired highway patrol sergeant, two of his brothers are troopers and another brother is a Lancaster police officer.
His sexual misconduct with NS and other victims came to light three years later when a routine review of dash cam video by patrol supervisors found Lee flirting with two young women he had stopped for a traffic violation. The FBI joined the investigation soon after.
Records seized from Lee found that he had sexually explicit photos with some of his victims where he is in uniform. In one photo, his badge is visible.
In April, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Watson sentenced Lee to 60 months in federal prison on four misdemeanors counts of civil rights violations and one felony count of cyberstalking. The case, investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s public corruption squad in Columbus, identified four victims. The records released this week indicate there were more victims beyond the four included in the federal case.
According to investigative records released this week, victims repeatedly said they didn’t report Lee’s conduct because they feared retribution or didn’t think they would be believed.
“Ms. Z stated Trooper Lee would leave her crazy voice mails and told her if she ever told anyone he could get her in trouble. Trooper Lee would tell her he had everything in his trunk to get her in trouble and he would plant the stuff on her,” according to a patrol interview in November 2013 with one of his victims.
Lee worked as a trooper in both the Granville and Lancaster posts from January 2006 to Nov. 4, 2013. The sexual misconduct incidents occurred between November 2010 and September 2013.