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Steven Burgess was on duty as a Jackson County sheriff’s deputy last July when he found a group of teens partying after hours in a park near Fort Osage.
He rousted the bunch, except for a 15-year-old girl. After the others had gone, the deputy put the girl in the passenger seat of his patrol car and, according to court documents, had her perform a sex act on him.
On Friday, Burgess, 33, now a former deputy, walked into a Jackson County courtroom facing up to 14 years in prison. He walked out a free man.
Circuit Judge Robert M. Schieber gave him the full 14 years, but then suspended the sentence and placed Burgess on five years of probation.
“We are very disappointed,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jim Kanatzar said. “We thought incarceration was the appropriate sentence.”
The prosecutor’s office asked for seven years each for the charges of statutory sodomy and deviate sexual assault to which Burgess had pleaded guilty in December.
Even Burgess’ attorney, John P. O’Connor, thought he could see some prison time. O’Connor knows that Schieber’s decision probably surprised some people, but he thinks justice was served.
O’Connor pointed out the defendant’s military service, previously unblemished record as a law enforcement officer, marriage with three children and good psychological assessment.
- Yeah, yeah. Funny how they don't look at all this when it's the average citizen, but when it's a cop or someone well liked, they get a slap on the wrist. SO MUCH FOR EQUAL JUSTICE!!!
Also, O’Connor said, putting a former police officer such as Burgess in prison is dangerous.
- Awwww, to bad... If it's good enough for the average citizen accused of the same, who are beaten on a regular basis, then so is it for him... THIS JUST GOES TO SHOW, THE "GOOD OLE' BOYS" GET A WAY WITH ANYTHING....
“It would be like a death sentence,” O’Connor said.
- Yeah, so is putting anybody in jail/prison who is accused of a sex crime.. WHY IS HE ANY DIFFERENT? JUST BECAUSE HE'S A COP? THAT DOESN'T JUSTIFY THIS SLAP ON THE WRIST AT ALL...
And it’s not like Burgess got off easy, O’Connor said. He lost his job, must register as a sex offender and may have to move because his house is near a school.
- Bull----!!!!!!! He got off very easy.... He did a lot more than MANY sex offenders and they get a long term in prison or a lot more punishment, he gets a slap on the wrist.. Well, the registry in itself is a MAJOR punishment... I'd rather go to prison and get out knowing I did not have to be on the WITCH HUNT registry...
Palle Rilinger, executive director of the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault, declined to criticize the sentencing but said that when adolescents are abused by authority figures, “the offense is even more magnified.”
To reach Donald Bradley, call 816-234-7810 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.