The former manager of a Southampton Town golf course was acquitted Thursday of unlawful surveillance in 2015 when he photographed a teenager’s crotch as she sat on a bench, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office said.
The jury had initially deadlocked over the fate of Steven Lee, 47, of Ronkonkoma, after starting deliberations Wednesday, but Suffolk County Court Judge John Toomey directed them to resume discussion, prosecutors said. Jurors asked for a read back of the second-degree unlawful surveillance charge, then reached their verdict an hour later, officials said.
“I’m happy the truth prevailed,” Lee said Thursday night. “I know I never did anything illegal.”
Officials said Lee had taken the photo from an opaque office window at the Poxabogue Golf Center pro shop in Sagaponack on July 25, 2015. He let others see the photo, which showed her legs apart and her underwear, prosecutors said.
He was arrested on Oct. 21, and the town dropped Lee’s contract, which he said had two years left.
Lee said he took the photo but declined to say if it showed her crotch. But he said he believes the jury did not trust the testimony of some prosecution witnesses, former workers who reported him.
He said the arrest cost him his 26-year career and he is now a salesman at a Honda dealership.
“I am glad this is done,” Lee said of the trial. “I am moving forward and going on with my life.”