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BOSTON, MA - A Chelsea man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to using his official position to violate the civil rights of two victims.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, and Marian J. McGovern, Colonel, Massachusetts State Police, announced today that JAMES BURKE, age 42, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law.

At the plea hearing, the prosecutor told the court that had the case proceeded to trial, the evidence would have shown that on two separate occasions, BURKE used his official position to obtain sexual services from two women who were defendants in pending Chelsea District Court prostitution cases. More specifically, BURKE, after indicating that he could assist one woman with her case, solicited oral sex from her after removing her from the lock-up area in Chelsea District Court and taking her to a room in the courthouse. With regard to the second woman, BURKE solicited her several times and finally, in February 2009, threatened to lock her up if she did not succumb to his sexual advances, which took place in a locked room in the courthouse and caused her bodily injury.

Sentencing has been scheduled for April 13, 2010. BURKE faces up to eleven years incarceration and $350,000 in fines. He also faces a 3 year period of supervised release and a mandatory $150 special assessment.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Massachusetts State Police. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia M. Carris and Brian T. Kelly, Chief of Ortiz’s Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.


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