BUFFALO, N.Y. — Former Ottawa Senators assistant general manager Randy Lee pleaded guilty Thursday to harassing a 19-year-old male hotel shuttle driver.
The 57-year-old Lee entered the plea in Buffalo City Court just before his nonjury trial was to begin. He declined comment when leaving the courthouse.
Lee was charged with inappropriately touching himself while making lewd comments and rubbing the shoulders of the driver while attending the NHL's pre-draft scouting combine in May.
He was sentenced to time already served — one night in jail — and ordered to pay a $120 surcharge for pleading guilty. The charge also carried a maximum $250 fine, which was waived by Judge Amy Martoche.
Lee was suspended by the Senators in June and resigned in August after 23 years with the team, including the past five as assistant general manager and GM of the team's American Hockey League affiliate.
The driver's lawyer, Charles Desmond, told The Associated Press that Lee offered to plead guilty to a violation other than harassment. The offer was rejected by prosecutors after they consulted with Desmond and his client, Desmond said.
Lee's legal issues might not be behind him with Desmond preparing to launch a civil suit against Lee and the Senators.
Following Lee's plea, Desmond said he intends to contact the Senators to determine whether the two sides can settle. Desmond said if there is no agreement, he will file the suit in early January.
Lee was arrested on May 31 at his downtown Buffalo hotel, which is about a five-minute drive from HarborCenter, a hockey and hotel complex that was hosting the combine.
According to a police report, Lee was picked up by the s driver at a HarborCenter restaurant and bar and asked to sit in the front passenger seat.
Lee then began touching and eventually massaging the driver's shoulder despite being told to stop. The driver then became frightened when he looked around the streets for help while stopped at a red light, and Lee said: "Don't worry, no one will see us." He then grabbed the driver's shoulder for a third time.
At that point, Lee turned in his seat to face the driver and made lewd comments while touching his own genitalia. Lee stands at least 6-foot-2, about a foot taller than the driver.
Upon dropping Lee off at the hotel, the driver alerted hotel security, who then contacted police.
The AP does not generally identify victims of a sex crime.
Desmond said Lee's guilty plea "confirms my client's version of what happened." Without going into detail, Desmond alleged the Senators are liable because they continued to employ Lee despite being aware of him doing similar things in the past.
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