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Sheriff resigns in sex scandal

By Tony Thornton Modified: April 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm •  Published: April 17, 2008
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ARAPAHO — Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess resigned Wednesday upon being charged with 35 felony counts involving an alleged sex-slave operation at his jail.

The allegations include having sex with female inmates and threatening to have a drug court participant in his custody sent to prison if she didn't comply with his demands.

One count accuses Burgess, 55, of touching a female deputy inappropriately.

Special prosecutor James Boring said Burgess could be sentenced to 467 years in prison if convicted on all 35 counts.

The crimes are alleged to have occurred between October 2005 and April 2007.

Burgess surrendered to Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents and appeared in court before a district judge, Boring said in a statement.

The judge set Burgess' bail at $50,000 and ordered the former sheriff not to have any contact with any of the witnesses in the case.

Immediately before his court appearance, Burgess resigned, effective immediately.

He had served as Custer County sheriff since 1994.

Burgess's attorney didn't return a phone message.

About the accusations
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 jail prisoners, alleges the sheriff's employees had them engage in wet T-shirt contests and offered cigarettes to those who would flash their breasts. Read the charges

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Mike Burgess

What charges does he face?
Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess faces these counts:

•Engaging in a pattern of criminal offenses (one count);

•Sexual battery (two);

•Bribery by a public official (five);

•Forcible oral sodomy (seven);

•Indecent exposure (one);

•Kidnapping (one);

•Second-degree rape (14);

•Rape by instrumentation (two);

•Subornation of perjury (two).

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