was a former LDS general authority; pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse of a child, a third-degree felony

Case Summary

Lee turned himself in in 1993.

raised in the LDS Indian Placement Program

excommunicated in 1989

divorced in 1996

“George was the first Native American General Authority in LDS church history.”

“the first general authority in 46 years to be excommunicated”

“He was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships that helped him earn his B.S. from BYU, Masters from Utah State University and finally his Ed.D. in Educational Administration from BYU. He was the first Native American to get a Doctorate degree from BYU and later served as the President of the College of Ganado and Principal at Tuba City High School in Arizona.”

mission president, Arizona Holbrook Mission, served for three years, ~1970s

1st Quorum of Seventy from 10/3/1975 to time of arrest in 1989

date of alleged crime: 1992
alleged victim: 12-year-old girl

“charges of molesting a 12-year-old girl, a friend of his daughter, a court official said Friday.”

“He was arraigned on one count of first-degree felony child sex abuse, which carries a maximum sentence of five years to life in prison. Prosecutors said the charges were filed as a first-degree felony because Lee ‘occupied a position of special trust to the victim’ as a church leader.”

Sources
  1. Elder George Lee to attend semi-annual Conference
    view source details | 12 Jan 1979 | Morgan County News
  2. 2
    view source details | |
  3. 4
    view source details | 1 Nov 1989 | Sunstone Magazine
  4. 5
    view source details | |
  5. GEORGE LEE Obituary
    view source details | 30 Jul 2010 | Legacy.com
  6. PRESS COVERAGE OF LEE'S EXCOMMUNICATION AMBIVALENT
    view source details | |
Sources excerpts
  • Elder George Lee to attend semi-annual Conference
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Morgan County News
    Date published/accessed: 12 Jan 1979
    archive 1 | archive 2

    The first semi-annual conference of the Morgan Utah 5take will be held Saturday and Sunday March 10 and 11. Elder George P. Lee will preside and President Keith R. Little will conduct the conference.

    Elder George P. Lee has been a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since October 3, 1975.

    A Navajo, raised on a Navajo he is the first Indian to serve as a General Authority of the Church.

    He received a bachelors degree from BYU, a masters from Utah State University and a doctorate in educational administration from BYU.

    Professionally, he has been a basketball coach, guidance counselor, teacher, educational consultant, federal programs consultant for HEW in Washington D.C. and president of College of Ganado on the Javajo Reservation in northeastern Arizona.

    He recently served for three years as president of the Arizona Holbrook Mission for the Church.

    His honors and awards include: Outstanding Young Man in America, Spencer W. Kimball Lamanite Leadership, United States Office of Education Fellowship, Ford Foundation Scholarship and Navajo Leadership and Educator.

    Born March 23, 1943, Elder Lee married Katherine Hettich, a Comanche Indian from Oklahoma. They have five children.

    The theme of the conference is taken from 2nd Nephi 31:12 "Follow me and do the things ye have seen me do".

    The Saturday night meeting at will be for all adult stake and ward Priesthood and Auxiliary leaders and their spouses. Sunday morning Elder Lee has called a special meeting for youth 12 and older. This meeting will run from 8:00 to The general session will commence at 10:00am. In accordance with the First Presidency Sacrament meetings in the Wards will no longer be held on Stake Conference Sunday.

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    2
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
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    4
    Source type: Other
    Publisher: Sunstone Magazine
    Date published/accessed: 1 Nov 1989
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    WHAT DO YOU think about George P. Lee? I feel sad. From the first news of his excommunication to my latest reevaluation based on the newest rumored report, sadness is the ever-present emotion.

    Each time I read Lee's two letters to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve which he released to the press (reprinted in this issue) my thoughts and feel- ings are conflicted. 1 feel pain and empathy with Lee's alienation from his Brethren which perhaps is fundamentally cultural. Yet Lee's emphatic, almost fanatical, insistence on his GentilelTrue lsrael theology is too narrow for practical policy, too undemocratic for my American tastes, too literalistic with the scrip- ture text and too lacking in deference to col- lective council. For me, Lee takes theology (not religion) too seriously and absolutely in a world where we glimpse God at best through contorted reflections in a dim mir- ror and must interpret him with our limited humanity.
    I remember joyhlly discussing with my mission president Elder Lee's 1975 appoint- ment by the Lamanite Apostle now President KimbaU to the First Quorum of the Seventy. The quorum had just been reorganized and now the Church was embracing ethnic diver- sity in its senior levels. What changes and new insights would this cultural pluralism bring? Those were hopeful days and undoubt- edly Lee felt and probably was encouraged in a sense of mission for his Indian people, the children of Lehi. Nineteen years later those days now seem like the first act of a tragedy in which the hopeful scene is set, only to be
    destroyed in subsequent acts by already- present, if unseen, flaws and uncontrollable circumstances.
    In James Goldman's play "The Lion in Winter" the aging, imprisoned Eleanor of Acquaitaine asks her estranged husband King Henry I1 of England at a acrid royal holiday, "How, from where we started, did we ever
    reach this Christmas!" Henry's severe answer: "Step by step."
    The ironies in Lee's life make him a tragic figure. George Lee was the "success story" of the Church's Indian Student Placement Pro- gram where Native American children were placed in Anglo LDS homes to attend good schools and be taught Church leadership skills. Yet it seems even with his BYU doc- torate in educational administration and his service as a college president, Lee did not fully comprehend his second culture and what ~t really meant when it told him that he and his people were special, chosen, God's.
    Then, too, the preceding LDS generation probably did believe that concept more than we do today, even if they didn't act to fulfill it. (Although the "chosen" appellation always had a subtle but strong tone of condescen- sion and the Book of Mormon preamble was used primarily as a missionary tool, not a policy guide.) Perhaps Lee felt betrayed when the culture changed, again, as it always does and will.
    Understandably a General Authority with a mission for his people would feel insulted when his views were not sought out, his cri- tiques not attended to, and his assignments beside the point. Especially when the Indian programs were being dismantled, for whatever administrative reasons, including federal laws. Should not our theology instead of cost- benefit evaluations determine policy?he may have asked.
    The Brethren's apparent frustration is understandable, too (although we know lit- tle of their side of the story). For whatever purpose Lee was called during those early days of the First Quorum, for administrative reasons the Seventies were assigned managerial roles with limited policy input (which the Twelve retained). With protests and probations, Lee apparently had unusual difficulty being a "team player" in this very American corporation.The compositionof his undiplomatic hand-written letters shows that he had almost no sense of how the apostles would respond to his attacks. He was an out- sider and didn't know how to play the game.
    I imagine that as Lee's frustration became more hostile and his doctrine more insistent the Brethren took their action with great prayerful reluctance and, as I'm sure it seemed to them (but not to Lee),long-sufferingand patience-each sideseeingthefutilityofcon- tinued affiliation, as both Lee's letter and the Twelve's action affirm. Lee's beliefs probably do constitute apostasy as defined in the 1989 General Handbook of Instnictions (those who "persistin teaching as Church doctrine infor- mation that is not Chruch doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or highter authority" [p. 10-31).But were his ideas any more screwy than Alvin R. Dyer's eccentric global racial theology? No. Dyer, too, was con- troversial among his Brethren but had the favor of President McKay and in most other ways fit in with the G.A. culture. When B.H. Roberts, undeniably a proud, strong-willed man, confronted his famous long-night dilemma of bending to the Brethren or depar- ture,he bent. Lee didnot.Why? I suspect Lee's unwillingness to accept correction has a lot to do with it, also Roberts had social/family
    ties to the hierarchy which Lee lacked. Lee's primary ties are to his people (he has now been asked to run for president of the Navajo Nation). Perhaps an illustrative fact is that Lee lived on the depressed West Side of Salt Lake Valley and not in the affluent East Bench neighborhoods where most Church leaders reside.
    In my best moments, 1hope this incident is just one of our many lamentable growing pains as we unavoidably step-by-step become an international church and learn to embrace other cultures. Deep down I really believe that, but in my more depressing moments I fear that we may be unknowingly walking step by step away from Zion; I fear that our structure is too rigid and that cosmetic institutional reforms would not change our cultural sui- cide. Fortunately,by nature I am optimistic, which keeps my sadness from turning into permanent pessimism. I also genuinely feel that God is sustaining this latter-day work, which when it triumphs will truly be a marvel.
    In a discussion about the Church's appar- ent lack of success among the North Ameri- can Indians in spite of its sizeable investment of resources (which fact has reportedly led some General Authorities to speculate that they are not of the seed of Lehi like the sup- posedly more receptive South American Indians), one BW professor replied: "That only demonstrates our glaring inability to translate Mormonism to non-American cul- tures. We've worked with the Indians for over acentury-more thananyotherculture-and we still don't know how to minister to them without requiring that they recreate into our image." The crucial lesson of the George Lee story may be the futility of trying to remake other cultures into our questionable Ameri- can model and in leaming how to embrace diverse cultural perspectives in all levels of the kingdom. By chance, the importance of finally leaming that lesson is emphasized also In this issue in David Knowlton's report on the increasingattacks against the Church and the assassination of our missionaries in Bolivia, yet another challenging culture. '

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    5
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
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    GEORGE LEE Obituary
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Legacy.com
    Date published/accessed: 30 Jul 2010
    archive 1 | archive 2

    George Patrick Lee 1943 ~ 2010 George Patrick Lee, 67, passed away on Wednesday, July 28, 2010 at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center after a long battle with many physical ailments. George was born March 23, 1943 in Towaoc, Colorado to Jaaneez Yee Biye (Son of Donkey Man) and Asdzaa Lichii (Red Woman.) He was Tódích'íinii, born for Kin Yaa aanii. As a young boy, George attended Shiprock Boarding School before becoming one of the first Navajos in the Placement Program of the LDS church, living with the Harker family in Orem, Utah. He attended school in Orem while returning to the Navajo Reservation for the summer. George served as class and student body president, played sports and excelled at everything he put his mind to. Early on, he showed his dynamic personality by giving stirring talks that were completely memorized while still a youth. After graduating high school, George served as a missionary in the Southwest Indian Mission, which he would later return to as Mission President in 1975. He was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships that helped him earn his B.S. from BYU, Masters from Utah State University and finally his Ed.D. in Educational Administration from BYU. He was the first Native American to get a Doctorate degree from BYU and later served as the President of the College of Ganado and Principal at Tuba City High School in Arizona. He married Katherine Hettich, a Comanche from Oklahoma in 1967 and they had seven wonderful children together before divorcing in 1996. He was a strong member of the LDS church and served in various church positions before being called to the newly formed First Quorum of the Seventy by President Spencer W. Kimball at the age of 32. George was the first Native American General Authority in LDS church history. He was a dynamic speaker, leaving impressions upon people even years after hearing him speak. George loved God, his people and family. He loved basketball and fishing, often shooting "hoops" with his boys while still in his suit after work-He was a deadly 3 point shooter. Summers often brought fishing trips and excursions to the reservation. He loved his people dearly and even ran for Navajo Nation Tribal president in 1994. He is survived by his seven children, Dwayne, Chad, Tricia, Robyn, Todd, Scott and Jacob along with 15 grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings Lucy and Bob. He was preceded in death by his parents, step-sister Nelli, step-brother Mike, brothers Joey, Pat, Clifford and grandson Jerym Lee. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 3rd at the LDS Washington Buena Vista Stake Center on 860 North Fairway Drive, Washington Utah. A viewing will be held at 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Monday, August 2nd at the Spilsbury Mortuary located at 110 S. Bluff Street, St. George, Ut. There will also be a visitation time prior to the funeral on Tuesday, 9:30 to 10:30 am at the stake center. Interment will take place in the Washington City Cemetery, Washington, Ut. Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, St. George, UT, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign the guest book at www.spilsburymortuary.com
    Published by The Salt Lake Tribune on Jul. 30, 2010.

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    PRESS COVERAGE OF LEE'S EXCOMMUNICATION AMBIVALENT
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
    archive 1 | archive 2

    ON FRIDAY, 1 Septembe
    1989,the First Presidency issued a surprise statement which an- nounced the excommunication ol Elder George P . Lee, a member ol theFirstQuorumofSeventysince 1975 and the only Native Ameri- can General Authority, for apos- tasy and "conduct unbecoming a member."
    Later in the day, Elder Lee- now Dr. Lee in most news stories -visited with reporters in the Salt Lake press complex and answered questions and distributed copies of two hand written letters ad- dressed "to the First Presidency

    and the Twelven-a 15-page un
    dated letter he had apparently given to the authorities months earlier and a 23-page letter he re- portedly had read to them that morningathisexcommunication hearing.
    The first letter roundly criti- cized the Church leadership for neglecting the American Indians and Polynesians by abolishing or cutting back on long-standingpro- grams designed to help them (BYU's Indian program, student placement in Anglo LDS homes, Indian seminaries, missionaries on reservations, etc.). As a child, Lee

    enrolled in the placement program and was considered a "success story."
    Lee spoke of anti-Indian feel- ing among the Anglo leaders of the churchandanindividualhostil- ity toward him. He cited specifi- cally that he had been placed on "probation"in an informal way- without the kind of procedures that would have been used for the Twelve - and "stripped of all assignments."
    Even after the probation sup- posedly ended, he said he had still not been allowed again to organize stakes, which showed a continu-

    enrolled in the placement program and was considered a "success story."
    Lee spoke of anti-Indian feel- ing among the Anglo leaders of the churchandanindividualhostil- ity toward him. He cited specifi- cally that he had been placed on "probation"in an informal way- without the kind of procedures that would have been used for the Twelve - and "stripped of all assignments."
    Even after the probation sup- posedly ended, he said he had still not been allowed again to organize stakes, which showed a continu

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.