Man pleads guilty to foster abuse

Man pleads guilty to foster abuse


A Canton man pleaded guilty last week to sexual battery of his foster daughter, District Attorney Bubba Bramlett announced.

“Children in our foster system have already had to deal with so much,” Bramlett said. “For a foster parent to then sexually abuse a child in their care is beyond horrible.”

The man, Michael Anthony Lee, 41, of Canton, faces up to 30 years on the charge of sexual battery, all of which will be served day-for-day, Bramlett said. Lee entered his guilty plea on Jan. 17.

“He will not be eligible for early release or parole on this charge,” Bramlett said. 

According to Bramlett, Lee will also have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. Lee will be sentenced on Jan. 31 by Circuit Judge Bradley Mills. 

“I applaud the courage and strength of this child,” Bramlett said. “The District Attorney’s Office will be seeking the maximum sentence of 30 years for this criminal.” 

Lee was living in Canton with his wife when the incident occurred. They were licensed foster parents through the Mississippi Department of Human Services when the 15-year-old child was placed in their home. According to Bramlett, shortly after her placement, Lee began engaging in sexual contact with the victim. 

The abuse continued throughout the victim's six-month placement in Lee's home, Bramlett said. It was discovered after the child was moved to another foster family in north Mississippi. Bramlett said the new foster parent discovered that Lee had sent sexually explicit text messages to the victim. 

Child Protective Services was immediately notified, and a joint investigation was initiated involving both CPS and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. Investigators executed a search warrant on Lee’s phone and found pornographic images of the victim on his phone. 

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