MADISON COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A Mississippi foster parent pled guilty to sexual battery of a child.

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Bubba Bramlett said Michael Anthony Lee, 41, pled guilty to sexual battery of his foster child. Lee was living in Canton with his wife when the incident took place.

According to Bramlett, Lee and his wife were licensed foster parents through Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) when the 15-year-old child was placed in their home. Shortly after the placement, authorities said Lee began engaging in sexual contact with the victim.

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

Child Protective Services (CPS) 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 authorities said they found pornographic images of the victim on his phone.

Lee faces up to 30 years on the charge of sexual battery, all of which will be served day-for-day. He will not be eligible for early release or parole on this charge. He will also have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.

Lee will be sentenced on January 31, 2023.