Sex offender: 'I feel like a monster'

Cary Ashby • Apr 21, 2014 at 11:36 PM

"There (are) not enough sorrys I can say to the victim's family, my family."

Convicted sex offender Lee A. Gustafson Jr. spoke quietly, often starting and stopping briefly between his short statements Wednesday in Huron County Common Pleas Court.

"I feel like a monster," he said.

Gustafson said he can't imagine what impact his actions made on the 15-year-old victim's life, her future, her family or the pain he has caused.

"There is really no excuse for what happened. I'm not here to make excuses," he said.

Judge Jim Conway sentenced Gustafson, 28, of 325 Lyme St., Bellevue, to four years in prison. That's one year short of the maximum for his conviction on unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Defense attorney Jeremiah Ray earlier had recommended the judge consider sentencing his client to "the lower end" of the third-degree felony, which is punishable by one to five years in prison.

"He was the adult. He didn't use his head. He made a poor decision," Ray said.

In February, Gustafson pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed a more serious charge of rape. The Bellevue Police Department investigated the April 5 incident.

The victim's parents didn't speak in court Wednesday, but agreed to be interviewed after the sentencing hearing. They said their daughter will be undergoing counseling.

"She just doesn't want to talk about it (what happened). If it gets brought up, she gets upset," said her mother, who believes Gustafson's four-year sentence was appropriate.

The victim's father wanted the defendant get the full five years, but said four years is "better than it could be."

"There is no remorse for that (crime)," he said.

Conway ordered Gustafson to undergo sex offender treatment while he is in prison.

Once he's released, he will be on five years of parole. As a Tier II sex offender, Gustafson must register his address every six months for the next 25 years. He can apply for early release after being in prison for six months.

In mid-April 2005, Gustafson was sentenced to 90 days in the Huron County Jail for attempted burglary. As part of his four years of probation, he was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $500 fine. Gustafson also was ordered to pay the victim $2,000 in restitution.

Before Wednesday's hearing, Gustafson's sister, Shantel Taylor, 18, of 521 W. Main St., Bellevue, was arrested on a Sandusky County Juvenile Court warrant. She was handcuffed and charged with a probation violation. Taylor watched the proceeding before being transported to jail and eventually released to the Sandusky County Sheriff's Office.

Gustafson's parents declined to comment Wednesday.

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