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Promise Lee's been in the courts


  • Courtesy Promise Lee

Aside from the events of Sept. 3, 1974, Promise Lee has had some run-ins with the law. He and co-defendant Larry White briefly faced charges of rape based on an incident that occurred while they were out on bond.

Records of the incident, which took place in 1974, proved hard to find and many of those involved in the case have since died. The Indy was able to reach then-DA Steven Pelican; White' defense attorney, Larry Pozner; and Promise's defense attorney Thomas Armour but none recalled the case.

Armour's written investigation from the time mentions the rape charge, but says that there is no physical evidence in the case, and that a witness who did threaten to kill the girl in question testified that Promise left her house without doing anything wrong.

Whatever the case, it's clear that Promise was not convicted of the crime and, in separate interviews, both Promise and his mother, Fannie Lee, say Promise was implicated when another boy used his name — a ruse that unraveled in court.

Since being released from prison, Promise has faced a number of civil lawsuits involving money — including a large concentration of suits around the time of his marriage to Rhonda Lee, who went on to rack up numerous arrests for money-related crimes. (Promise has no similar record.)

Promise has also been charged with minor traffic-related infractions, often for having expired plates, license and/or insurance. He was charged with misdemeanor third degree assault in 1986 and 1992.

A 2001 Indy article says Promise planned to challenge the city of Colorado Springs after the City Council adopted a provision that barred him from running for Council due to his record. He did not actually sue, however.

In 2006, records show, Promise and his church were among those sued by the Hillside Neighborhood Association, which Promise had once led, over the ownership of a strip mall. (Notably, Promise's resumé says that he raised the funds to buy the strip mall for the Association.) The Association claimed that Promise had asked the mall be deeded to his church temporarily, because the association could not afford to make a balloon payment. The Association asserted this was false.

Promise says the issue stemmed from a hurtful, but unrelated, misunderstanding with a family friend that led to animosity. Documents show that Promise said he was simply doing what was asked by the Association, which truly couldn't meet its obligation. Whatever the case, the suit was settled with Promise simply deeding the property back to the Association.

In 2009, Promise was also charged with child abuse, but both he and his attorney, Dan Kay, say he simply spanked his daughter, and records show the case was quickly dismissed.

— J. Adrian Stanley

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