Utah Man Pleads Guilty to Travel with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Contact with a Minor
BOISE – Bo B. Burdick, 21, of Tremonton, Utah, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to an information charging him with one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual contact, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.
According to the plea agreement, in January 2011, Burdick solicited a “Facebook” friend request from a 13-year-old girl living in Idaho. The girl accepted and learned that Burdick was a volunteer firefighter and EMT living in Utah. Burdick and the girl began to chat via text messaging, using cellular telephones and an iPod. Early in their online relationship, the girl complied with Burdick's request to send him sexually provocative pictures of herself, including pictures of her in her underwear and fully nude. The girl e-mailed the pictures from her e-mail account to the e-mail address provided by Burdick. Burdick also e-mailed her a fully naked picture of himself.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) recovered text messages and e-mail sent in January 2011 from the girl to Burdick, and from Burdick to the girl. The messages clearly show that the girl told Burdick she was 13 years old. They also show Burdick giving the girl instructions about the kinds of pictures he wanted her to send.
According to the plea agreement, Burdick was interviewed by HSI investigators in Utah in March 2012. At the interview, Burdick admitted that he traveled from Utah to Idaho to visit the girl on four separate occasions in 2011; that he rented hotel rooms on at least two occasions; and that he and the girl engaged in sexual intercourse. Burdick also told investigators that he had saved nude pictures of the girl on his laptop computer. HSI forensic examination of the computer identified files in folders containing digital images of the girl in various stages of undress, images of other young females, and pictures of recognizable locations in three Idaho towns. An SD card contained many of the same images recovered from the laptop. Examination of Burdick's cellular phone also found thumbnail images of the girl, which were transferred to the laptop.
“Children are our society’s most precious resource, and protecting children from sexual exploitation is a critical law enforcement mission” said Olson. “Tragically, in this case, Mr. Burdick was able to lure a young girl from her home and sexually exploit her. His guilty plea and the lengthy sentence that will be imposed as a result ensure that he will not pose a danger to other children. We extend our deepest sympathy to the victim in this case and her family.”
Burdick faces up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a minimum five years up to lifetime supervised release.
Sentencing is set for November 13, 2012, before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
“This case illustrates the importance of parental involvement in a child's digital life,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, who oversees HSI investigations in Idaho. “If not for the intervention of the girl's parents who discovered and reported the illicit activity, Burdick could be free to victimize others. While parents are the first line of defense in protecting children, they are not alone. Every day HSI and its law enforcement partners work tirelessly to investigate, arrest and prosecute child predators.”
The case was investigated by the Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Idaho State Police.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.