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Officials Dealing With Aftermath of Boal Mansion CEO Federal Indictment

by on October 07, 2014 3:20 PM

Officials in and around Boalsburg are continuing to deal with the aftermath of Boal Mansion and Museum CEO and Harris Township supervisor Christopher Lee’s indictment on federal charges of child pornography and exploitation.

The Boal Mansion and Museum is temporarily closed, according to Richard Payton of the Payton and Associates law firm. Payton is also affiliated with the St. Mortiz Security Company. He says members of the Boal family contacted the St. Mortiz Security Company to provide security for the mansion and museum until the situation is resolved.

Payton could not comment on how long the property may be closed. The Boal family and other members of the real estate trust that owns the land could not be reached for comment.

Lee was indicted by a grand jury earlier this week on charges of allegedly possessing child pornography and bringing juveniles into the country with the intent of engaging in sexual activity, according to the United States Department of Justice. He is being held in federal custody and is scheduled for trial on December 1. Local law enforcement and the FBI are investigating possible victims in other countries.

Though the mansion is closed, the nearby Boal Barn Playhouse remains open. David Saxe, president of Nittany Theatre at the Barn and the Boal Barn Players, says renovations to the space have been underway throughout the summer and the theatre troupe plans to open its season in May.

Saxe says the company had been on the lease for only one day when the news of Lee’s indictment broke on October 2. He says the company is a completely separate entity from the mansion and stresses that Lee’s alleged crimes has nothing to do with the Boal Barn Players' plans to serve the community through local theatre.

Lee had brought a lawsuit against the State College Community Theatre after they left the property two years ago, according to SCCT president Bruce Fleischer. Saxe says this prevented the Boal Barn Players from moving into the barn before October, even though he had signed the lease in March.

Fleischer says “nothing at all” has happened with the litigation between Lee and the SCCT. Fleischer is unsure how Lee’s indictment will impact the lawsuit, if at all.

“[The SCCT and its attorney] have of course discussed this, but we’ve reached no conclusion,” Fleischer says. “We want to wait to see what happens and let the dust settle a little bit.”

Harris Township Manager Amy Farkas says that, while Lee’s alleged crimes have nothing to do with the township or his role as a supervisor, his indictment may have an impact on the actions of the board of supervisors.

“Under Pennsylvania law, Lee remains a supervisor until his case is adjudicated,” Farkas says.

Until the courts make a decision one way or another, the township has no legal process through which to remove him from his position or select a new supervisor. Farkas says if Lee is convicted, they can petition the governor’s office to remove him from office.

In the meantime, the absence of the board’s fifth voting member may pose problems for the township.

“In the township, our board of supervisors has five members,” Farkas says. “So now, with only four, if anything reaches a two-two tie, that means the motion will die because we have no mayor to make a tie-breaking vote." 

Her greatest concern is making sure Harris Township is able to pass its annual budget by the end of the year, which they are required to do by state law. Lee will not face trial until December, which is when the budget will likely be close to a vote.

The United States Attorney’s Office says Lee is represented by State College attorney Joseph Amendola, who has not returned multiple requests for comment.


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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