Massachusetts man known as 'Bad Breath Rapist' found in California after years on the run

A man was arrested Tuesday who authorities believe is the "bad breath rapist" convicted nearly 17 years ago of sexually assaulting a coworker in Massachusetts.

Tuen Lee was taken into custody in California, Massachusetts State Police announced.

He is accused of breaking into a coworker's home and sexually assaulting her on Feb. 2, 2005 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Lee had been on the run since he was convicted for the assault in 2007, according to a docket filed in Norfolk County District Court.

According to authorities, he spent at least 15 years living with a woman in California who had no idea of his criminal history.

'Bad breath rapist' found guilty in 2007

Police arrested Lee shortly after the 2005 assault occurred "identified by DNA and his horrible breath," hence the nickname "The Bad Breath Rapist."

According to authorities, the case went to trial in Norfolk Superior Court and after two days of deliberation, the jury found Lee guilty on all charges. He had already left the state though, police said.

Lawyer who represented Lee says it's a 'sad case'

Philip Tracy, who previously represented Lee, told USA TODAY Wednesday that if Lee’s family wants him to, he’ll do the best he can for his sentencing.

“He has been found guilty,” Tracy told USA TODAY. “The thoughts of appeal are long gone because he took off. We would argue for a humane sentence under the circumstances. Check his mental health.”

Lee could also choose to get a new lawyer or a public defender, Tracy said.

“I am ready, willing and able to try to give the best I can,” he said.

He said he was "disappointed" that his client left the way he did and the jury stayed out for a few days even after Lee left.

"It's a sad case," Tracy said.

Lee was on the run for nearly 2 decades

Authorities said that multiple agencies spent “hundreds of hours” trying to find Lee over the years, including the Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section Metro Team and Quincy police detectives.

Lee was even featured on shows such as “America's Most Wanted,” authorities said, adding that they got a lead in early 2024 regarding his whereabouts. They found the address to a multi-million dollar home in Diablo, California owned by a woman who runs a flower shop.

Investigators found photos online that they believed to be Lee and worked together to trail him and on Tuesday, saw Lee and a woman leave the home and get into a car.

Danville police conducted a traffic stop, during which Lee gave them a fake name but later offered them his real name. Investigators used fingerprints to confirm his identity as well.

Police said the woman he was with for 15 years in California never knew his real identity.

Lee was taken to the Danville Police Department for booking and will be held there until he is taken back to Massachusetts.

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Bad Breath Rapist' Tuen Lee captured nearly 17 years after conviction