The Taipei District Court sentenced Justin Lee (李宗瑞) to 18-and-a-half years in prison yesterday for sexually assaulting a number of women. He also received a three-year-and-10-month sentence for filming women without their consent and must compensate 12 victims a total of NT$14,250,000 (US$478,000).
The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office charged Lee with sexually assaulting 28 women and filming the acts, and asked for a combined sentence of 30 years in prison for all the offenses.
However, the court ruled that Lee only raped nine women and filmed sex acts with 15 women without their consent.
Lee, who has been detained since August last year, appeared in court for the ruling. Lee’s attorney Chou Chih-hung (鄒志鴻) said Lee was unhappy with the verdict and would appeal it.
The district prosecutors’ office also said it would appeal the ruling with the Taiwan High Court.
An attorney for one of the women, Chang Li-yeh (張立業), quoted his client as saying that the sentence was too lenient.
“Lee is loathsome and he should be given a heavier sentence,” Chang cited his client as saying, adding that she has asked him to appeal the verdict.
Taipei prosecutors had said that Lee was suspected of drugging a number of women in several luxury nightclubs in Taipei since August 2009, taking them to his home and raping them while they were unconscious.
Lee also allegedly took home several women after getting them drunk at nightclubs and raped them, prosecutors added.
The district court said there was not sufficient evidence to prove that these women were drugged by Lee.
The court therefore referred to Article 255 of the Criminal Code, which states that a person commits rape when taking advantage of someone’s insanity or similar condition which makes resistance impossible, instead of charging Lee with aggravated forcible rape according to Article 221.
The three-year-and-10-months sentence is for invasion of privacy, while a 40-day sentence for threatening a victim can be commuted to a fine of NT$2.87 million.
Two victims reached settlements with Lee’s attorney outside of court and did not testify in the hearing, the court added.
The 28-year-old Lee has insisted during the hearing that the women had consented to sex and that he had not made any secret films.
Prosecutors have videos seized from Lee’s computers, but some of the videos and photographs — believed to be stills taken from the videos — were posted on the Internet shortly after Lee went into hiding last year.
Lee is the son of former Yuanta Financial Holding Co board member Lee Yueh-tsang (李岳蒼). He was well-known in Taipei for attending fashion parties and nightclubs, and several of his alleged victims were celebrities and models.
An investigation into Lee began after twin sisters accused him in July 2011 of drugging and raping the elder sister, and filming the entire process.
Additional reporting by staff writer