QUANTICO, Va.- An HIV-positive Navy chaplain was sentenced to two years in prison yesterday after admitting he had sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing he had the virus and that he forced himself on a Naval Academy midshipman.
Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Lee, 42, of Burke, Va., a Catholic priest, pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy with the midshipman, aggravated assault on the officer and other crimes after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors at a court-martial at Quantico Marine Corps Base, south of Washington.
Marine spokesman Maj. Tim Keefe said after yesterday's hearing that nobody is known to have contracted HIV from Lee.
Lee was assigned to the academy from 2003 to 2006 and later to Quantico. He was relieved of his duties in June.
The forcible sodomy occurred in the fall of 2004, when the midshipman was in his junior year. The midshipman, who was not identified, had previously received counseling from Lee, and said he allowed Lee to perform oral sex on him because he was intimidated by Lee's status as a chaplain.
"This was a priest. This was a guy who knew all of my darkest secrets," the victim, now a Navy ensign, testified during the trial's sentencing phase.
Lee, who learned that he has the virus that causes AIDS in 2005, admitted he had sex the following year with an Air Force lieutenant colonel at the colonel's home in Fairfax. Lee said he met the man on the Internet and lied when directly questioned about his HIV status.
"I said everything was OK," Lee told the judge.
Because the sexual contact with the officer included a risk of grave physical danger or death due to Lee's HIV status, it is considered an aggravated assault under military law. Lee also admitted violating a lawful order, committing an indecent act, fraternization, conduct unbecoming an officer and consensual sodomy. *