(03-11) 16:22 PST SAN RAFAEL -- The former superintendent of the Lagunitas School District in Marin County pleaded no contest today to possessing child pornography in a case that began after his girlfriend stumbled onto explicit photos of children at their Petaluma home, authorities said.
Craig Benedict Lee, 54, entered his plea to one count of possessing child pornography. He could be sent to state prison for as long as three years when Judge Lawrence Antolini of Sonoma County Superior Court sentences him June 30.
Legally, pleading no contest is the same as pleading guilty, but the conviction cannot be used against the defendant in a civil lawsuit.
Lee served as principal at the Lagunitas district's three elementary programs and a middle school as well as its superintendent since July 2006. The district serves four hamlets - San Geronimo, Lagunitas, Forest Knolls and Woodacre - in San Geronimo Valley.
Lee was arrested in April 2007 after authorities responded to a domestic violence call at his home in the 900 block of Aspen Way. His live-in girlfriend was cleaning their house when she found child pornography, Petaluma police said.
She confronted Lee when he came home, and he allegedly pushed or shoved her, police said. The woman called police and gave officers the photos she had found.
E-mail Henry K. Lee at email@example.com.