Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Joseph Lee Arrested for Dunking 7-year-old in Sink Full of Water

Huntsville police arrested a man Friday accused of picking up a 7-year-old boy by the ankles and dunking him, upside down, in a sink full of water.

Joseph A. Lee, a 61-year-old professor at Alabama A&M University, was arrested and charged with one count of torture and willful abuse of a child under the age of 18, said police spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts.

Roberts said officers were called to 223 Salem Drive in Huntsville at 1:40 p.m. Friday. A 14-year-old witness told officers that Lee picked the boy up by the ankles, dunked his head in the sink and dropped him on the ground, Roberts said.

The police incident report did not detail the events leading to the alleged abuse.

Lee, a graduate of Tuskegee University, teaches community planning and urban studies at Alabama A&M, according to university spokesman Jerome Saintjones. Lee also is president of A&M's Community Development Corp., an agency that works to revitalize neighborhoods near the campus. The address listed on the police report - Salem Drive - is in the Edmonton Heights neighborhood and a block away from the southern edge of the campus.

Saintjones and President Andrew Hugine declined to comment on Lee's arrest. It's unclear if the university has taken any administrative action against Lee.

Torture and willful abuse of a child is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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