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BOSTON, Mass. - United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz, Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, and Marian J. McGovern, Colonel, Massachusetts State Police, today announced the conviction of a District Court clerk who used his official position to violate the civil rights of two victims.

JAMES BURKE, 42, was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law. At trial, evidence was introduced which demonstrated 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.

“This defendant is a public official who abused his position of authority and tainted the criminal justice system by depriving defendants of their civil rights,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “Advancing public corruption investigations and prosecutions is extremely difficult work and I want to commend the investigators and prosecutors who handled this matter.”

Burke is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 16, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. He faces up to two years incarceration to be followed by two years of supervised release and $200,000 in fines.

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


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