Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 10, 2009
Former Jackson County, Missouri, Deputy Indicted for Civil Rights Violation

WASHINGTON – A former Jackson County, Mo., sheriff’s deputy was indicted on April 7, 2009, by a federal grand jury for violating the civil rights of a teenage girl whom he forced to perform sexual acts in his patrol car, the Justice Department announced.

The indictment alleges that Steven W. Burgess, 35, of Independence, Mo., then a deputy sheriff with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, while acting under color of law, deprived a minor child of her Constitutional rights on July 24, 2007. According to the indictment, Burgess violated the victim’s right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes the right to bodily integrity. The indictment alleges that Burgess committed acts that include aggravated sexual abuse, using force against his victim and placing her in fear of death, serious bodily injury and kidnaping.

The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City. The charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney K. Michael Warner and Eric L. Gibson, a trial attorney with the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division. It was investigated by the Jackson County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

09-335