Sheriff Convicted

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) - Former Custer County Sheriff Mike Burgess was sentenced today to 79 years in prison for sexually abusing female inmates and drug court defendants.

The 56-year-old Burgess apologized to two of his victims during today's sentencing in Major County District Court in Fairview but maintains he's innocent of allegations he abused others.

The case was moved to Major County from Custer County because of
pretrial publicity.

Burgess was convicted in January on 13 felony counts that include five counts of second-degree rape. He was acquitted on 23 other counts.

Burgess was accused of using his power over female inmates and drug court defendants to force them into having sex with him.

Defense attorney Steve Huddleston calls the sentence as "way too harsh" and says an appeal is planned.

Special prosecutor Mike Boring says he's satisfied and says the case sends a message that public officials can't use their position
to take advantage of others.


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