UPDATE: Friday, July 26, 2013
A former cheer coach was sentenced Friday to spend at least 42 years in prison for sexually molesting four underage girls, who were his students.
Sedgwick County District Judge Ben Burgess sentenced Timothy Wells-Lee, 29, to 25 years to life in prison to be followed by another 20 years. The sentences will run consecutively, which means the 20-year sentence can only begin if Wells-Lee is paroled from the 25-years-to-life sentence.
Wells-Lee was convicted in April of 10 counts charging him with having sexual relationships between 2006 and 2008 with girls whose ages ranged from 12 to 14.
One of his victims said in court Friday life in prison was exactly what Wells-Lee deserved.
"I will never allow you to take up any more space in my mind," she said.
The victim said she had to forgive Wells-Lee in order to move on with her life.
"I may forgive, but I'll never forget," the victim said. "I'll never forget all the friends I lost because of you or all the high school and family memories I could have had, but didn't because of you."
Wells-Lee -- who admits to having a sexual relationship with one of the girls after she turned 16, but denies accusations involving the other girls -- said before his sentence was handed down that he's made positive changes in his life since his arrest in 2010, including getting married and having a child. He and his wife asked Burgess to impose the minimum sentence allowed.
"A life sentence does more than affect me," Wells-Lee said. "A wife loses her husband and a daughter loses her father. And they've done nothing to deserve that."
However, parents of the victims said life in prison is what Wells-Lee deserves.
"For Mr. Wells-Lee and his family, they both get to live with what he has done to my daughter and our family," said the mother of one of the victims. "He will wake up every morning and going to bed every night remembering what he did."
"This will remain with her for the rest of her life, even though she may try to forget or maybe want to forget," said another victim's mother. "This should also remain with him for the rest of his life."
Friday, July 26, 2013
A former Wichita cheer coach was sentenced Friday to life in prison after being convicted of molesting four of his underage students.
In April, a jury found Twenty-nine-year-old Timothy Wells-Lee guilty of 10 of 11 charges filed against him. At his sentencing today, Sedgwick County District Judge Ben Burgess sentenced Wells-Lee to life in prison. He will not be eligible for parole for 42 years.
Wells-Lee was accused of having sexual relationships with girls ranging in age from 12 to 14. The 11 counts accused him of fondling, having oral sex and having sexual intercourse with the girls from 2006 through 2008. He was acquitted of the least serious of the 11 charges - a count that accused him of fondling one of the girls when she was 14.
All four girls testified at the trial, as did Wells-Lee. He denied having any sexual contact with three of the girls, and he said his sexual relationship with the fourth girl didn't begin until after her 16th birthday.
Defense lawyer Roger Falk argued in his closing remarks at trial that the dates and times that the girls said the abuse occurred didn't coincide with actual events. He cited as an example the testimony of one girl who said she had sex with Wells-Lee in his apartment in March 2009 after he had moved to Oklahoma City.
"The dates don't match up. The acts don't match up," he said.
Deputy District Attorney Kim Parker, who had the final comments for the jury, said Wells-Lee used his position as the girls' coach to take advantage of them sexually.
"He ran the show with these little girls all during a time when he was 10 to 12 years older than they were," she said. "He took advantage of their immaturity all for his own sexual gratification."