Jason Lee Indicted in Rape Allegation

A grand jury adds to charges against banker
Jason Lee, 37, has been arrested in connection with an alleged rape in East Hampton.

    A grand jury in Riverhead has indicted Jason Lee, a Goldman Sachs managing director who was renting a house in East Hampton for the month of August, for rape in the first degree. If convicted, Mr. Lee faces a 5-to-25 year sentence.

    The grand jury began meeting on Aug. 21, the day after Mr. Lee was arrested. It concluded its session on Friday; the indictment, which was unsealed on Tuesday, contained two additional charges, assault in the third degree and sexual misconduct, both misdemeanors.

    East Hampton Town police arrested Mr. Lee on the rape charge on the afternoon of Aug. 20, his 37th birthday. In East Hampton Town Justice Court the next day, Justice Catherine Cahill set bail at $20,000, which was posted.

    Detectives allege that Mr. Lee, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, raped a 20-year-old woman, a citizen of a foreign country, in the early morning hours of Aug. 20. Their complaint charges that he held the woman down with his forearm and raped her during a party at the rented house.

    “There’s not a scratch, there’s not a mark, there is not a bruise on my client,” Mr. Lee’s attorney, Edward Burke Jr. of Sag Harbor, said on Saturday. “There is not a blemish on his background, on his record.”

    The woman, whose name has been withheld, is a student who had been working on the East End for the summer. She has either returned home or is about to, according to a source close to the investigation.

    The night before his birthday, Mr. Lee called a friend, Rene Duncan of the Bronx, inviting him to East Hampton to celebrate. Mr. Duncan drove a 2004 GMC Yukon to the house, on Clover Leaf Lane near Buckskill Road. Ms. Lee was reported to be in the city at the time.

    According to a report released by police on Friday, the two men went that night to the Georgica restaurant and lounge in Wainscott, not far from the rented house. There they met a group of foreign students, including the alleged victim, who were celebrating the end of their summer employment.

    Two other men, strangers to Mr. Lee and Mr. Duncan, joined the party, and the group, now numbering seven including the alleged victim and another young woman, moved to the rented house when the restaurant closed, traveling in the Yukon.

    The source said the seven continued drinking and partying in the backyard swimming pool, either partially clothed or in the nude. Police allege that at some point Mr. Lee and the woman entered the house, where the rape occurred.

    Meanwhile, one of the two men who had joined the party got permission from Mr. Duncan to drive the other man, who was intoxicated, home in the Yukon. When the man and the Yukon did not return, Mr. Duncan dialed 911, reporting that his vehicle might have been stolen.

    Town police, concerned about recent thefts of valuable automobiles in the Wainscott area, arrived on the scene quickly, the source said. The car was found in Montauk that afternoon. It was returned to Mr. Duncan, who declined to press charges. He has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

    With police now present, the source said, the brother of the alleged victim drew a female officer aside and led her into the house, where the 20-year-old, who was crying, was interviewed. According to the source, Mr. Lee then went to the driveway and hid in the back seat of his late-model Range Rover. Police found him there. Detectives were called, and the distraught woman eventually agreed to press charges.

    Normally, it can take weeks or even months before an indictment can be procured from a grand jury, but because the alleged victim was scheduled to leave the country very soon the district attorney’s office fast-tracked the process. The victim and her brother were driven to the grand jury hearing by an East Hampton Town detective, apparently even as the arraignment was taking place.

    Mr. Burke, who was in criminal court in Islip today on an unrelated matter, declined to comment on the indictment and the new charges. “He adamantly denies these allegations,” the lawyer said during last week’s Justice Court proceeding.

    Mr. Lee, who was hired at Goldman Sachs in 1998 and rose to become manager of convertible and equity derivatives for other large financial institutions, has hired Risa Heller Communications, a public relations firm, to handle media inquiries.

    Ms. Heller’s recent clients include former New York Gov. David Paterson and former Congressman and current New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. In a statement, she called Mr. Lee “a very accomplished individual” and said that “his wife supports him.”