Released after posting $50,000 bail Burgess did not speak with the media. The Associated Press story hit at 5:20 PM (ET) Thursday and Drudge had it headlined by 7:30 PM (ET). WJLA-TV covered the story and provided content to sister station Tulsa’s KTUL. The question Tulsa Today is considering is why this is the first Tulsa’s general population is hearing about this outrage of individual rights and liberty? How is it possible that this abuse was not generally known throughout the community and where are our so-called “state news sources?” We did find a very short story in the Tulsa World October 18, 2007, but no follow-up or continued coverage.
Western Oklahoma – Sheriff Mike Burgess faces charges of coercing and bribing female inmates so he could use them in a “sex-slave operation” out of the Custer County Jail. Burgess resigned early Thursday and appeared in court.
Oklahoma prosecutors filed 35 felony charges against Burgess, including 14 counts of second-degree rape, seven counts of forcible oral sodomy and five counts of bribery by a public official. Burgess served as the top law officer in the county of 26,000 since 1994.
Among other things, Burgess is accused of having sex with a female drug court participant who was in his custody. The crimes are to have occurred between October 2005 and April 2007. A federal lawsuit filed in October claims Burgess told one drug court participant he would have her sent to prison if she didn’t comply with his sexual demands.
The lawsuit, filed by 12 former inmates, alleges the sheriff’s employees had them engage in wet T-shirt contests and offered cigarettes to those who would flash their breasts. One prisoner alleged she became a jail trusty after agreeing to perform a sex act on Burgess, but lost that status when she later refused.
Burgess also faces two counts each of sexual battery, rape by instrumentation and subornation of perjury, and one count each of engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses, indecent exposure and kidnapping.
He could be sentenced to 467 years in prison if convicted on all counts, special prosecutor James Boring told the AP.
Tulsa Today is a local news service and we consider local to be Northeastern Oklahoma. However, as the Stipe “Family of Perpetual Corruption” has proven, some aggressive media needs to keep a watchful eye on the hinterlands. Maybe Tulsa Today should expand. Regardless, if any jerk anywhere in Oklahoma is abusing public authority or the public trust – send us the tip – point us in the right direction and, without fear, this small news service will dig as deep as necessary. We have had enough of small town "Boss Hogs" and we are well prepared to make them infamous. Send such tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.