(Updates with Lee’s attorney’s comment in eighth paragraph.)
By Chris Dolmetsch
Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. managing director Jason Lee pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a woman at his rental home in East Hampton, New York, the wealthy beach community on the east end of Long Island.
Jason Lee, 37, wearing a dark suit and accompanied by his wife, was arraigned today before Suffolk County Judge Barbara Kahn in Riverhead, New York.
Lee, of Manhattan, was arrested and charged with first-degree rape in August after police went to his Clover Leaf Lane home and learned that a woman had been sexually assaulted inside the residence, where several people had gathered, according to a police statement.
A grand jury indicted Lee last month on one count of first-degree rape, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, and misdemeanor counts of assault and sexual misconduct, according to court records. He was freed at the time on $20,000 cash bail. Bail was set today at $100,000 cash, with the $20,000 applied to that amount. Lee left the courthouse after posting the additional bail. He was ordered to turn in his passport.
Lee’s employer wasn’t identified in the police statement. Lee is head of convertibles at Goldman Sachs and has been placed on leave, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about a private personnel matter and asked not to be named.
Lee, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has been with Goldman Sachs since March 1998, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.
He led “many of the firm’s most complicated financing and risk-management transactions for corporate clients” while managing convertible and equity derivative origination for financial, health-care and consumer companies, according to a biography posted on the website of a 2009 Milken Institute conference where he was a scheduled speaker.
“We have what is apparently a rush to arrest my client, a rush to the grand jury and a rush to indict my client,” Edward Burke Jr., Lee’s attorney, said after the hearing. “But what we don’t have here is a rush to judgment.”
Lee is “adamant that he did not do this, adamant that he did not perform these serious allegations upon this complainant at all,” Burke said.
Burke said a detailed investigation will clear Lee’s name. Burke replied “yes it was” when asked by reporters after the hearing if the sex between Lee and the woman was consensual.
“There’s not a bump, there’s not a bruise, there’s not a scratch on my client at all,” Burke said.
Lee “has never been in trouble before,” Burke said. “He’s very successful. He’s got the support of his family. Everybody is behind him.”
Lee was arrested by East Hampton town police Aug. 20, his 37th birthday, after a 20-year-old woman told them she first met Lee at a nightclub on Wainscott Stone Road and he bought her and friends drinks, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said in a statement.
Lee invited the woman and her friends to his house, and at about 4 a.m., the woman said, Lee was naked when he tried to follow her into a bathroom and he shoved the door with such force that she fell to the floor, where he pinned her down, according to the district attorney’s statement. She struggled and during the attack kneed him in the groin, she told police, according to the statement.
Police had gone to the house to investigate an unrelated incident and met the victim, who told them what had happened, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota said today after the hearing. They found Lee 45 minutes to an hour later in a car, Spota said.
A description of a four-bedroom, three-bathroom 2,700-square-foot house on the street where Lee was arrested, posted on the website of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, said it was available from Aug. 1 until Labor Day, Sept. 2, for $33,000.
The woman has returned to her native Ireland and will be in court for the trial, Spota said today. She was working in another state and had come to the Hamptons to visit her brother, who was working in the area for the summer, Spota said.
The alleged victim was taken to a hospital and examined by a nurse trained in sexual assault cases, who determined that her injuries -- which included bruises on her body -- were consistent with her allegations, Spota said.
“These are very, very serious allegations against an individual who is a prominent member of the community,” Spota said. “If he were to be convicted in this case the potential sentence is very serious.”
The case is New York v. Lee, 02053/2013, Suffolk County Court, Criminal Term.