July 24, 2008

OKLAHOMA CITY — A lawsuit accuses Custer County, Okla. Sheriff Mike Burgess of operating a sex-slave ring and threatening to send female jail inmates to prison unless they complied with his sexual demands.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday against Burgess on behalf of 12 women who either were jail prisoners or are participants in the county’s drug court program.

Burgess had sex with one such woman more than 30 times after telling her that “he got her into the Drug Court program and if she did not provide the required sexual favors, he would get her out,” the lawsuit alleges.

As sheriff and as a member of the drug court, Burgess had the power to carry out that alleged threat, the lawsuit claims.In the spring of 2006, either Burgess or his employees placed one inmate in an isolation cell and gave her only an extremely small gown, which left her breasts exposed. This was in retaliation for her repeated requests for prescription drugs to treat her depression. One jailer fondled the inmate’s breasts and paraded male trusties in front of her cell to peer through the door and ogle her.

– Burgess called Mason several times and told her to call him on his cell phone. When the sheriff’s wife questioned the calls, Burgess told her only to call him at the office, according to the lawsuit.

– He ordered Mason to drink alcohol, also in violation of her drug court requirements, and as part of the sheriff’s alleged scheme of “extreme sexual slavery, including sexual battery, sodomy, rape and blackmail.” — When he picked up women on a drug court violation, Burgess offered to cause the court to impose far less severe punishment if she would perform a sex act on him.

– In May 2006, Burgess’ employees staged wet T-shirt contests among female inmates and offered cigarettes to those who would flash their breasts.

– One female inmate this year was required by a jail employee to bare her breasts to receive food and aspirin.

– One woman resisted a jailer’s sexual advances in May 2006. The retaliation included being placed in lockdown and having medication withheld. She also was served food that caused rectal bleeding, causing her and others to subsist only on bread and water.

– One woman became a jail trustee with much more freedom after she agreed to perform sodomy on Burgess. When she finally refused, she lost her trustee status.

State law prohibits a jailer or law enforcement officer from having sex with an inmate or a person in his custody.

This is the second time such allegations have been made against an Oklahoma sheriff in the last three years.

In November 2003, a federal grand jury indicted then-Latimer County Sheriff Melvin Holly on similar allegations. He eventually was sentenced to 25 years in prison. A slew of lawsuits ensued, resulting in judgments against the county………..READ FULL STORY,1299,DRMN_16_5726684,00.html

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