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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


MATT J. WHITWORTH


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


APRIL 10, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FORMER JACKSON COUNTY DEPUTY INDICTED

FOR CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATION


CHARGED WITH SEXUALLY ABUSING TEEN GIRL

WHILE SHE WAS DETAINED


            KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, announced today that a former Jackson County, Mo., sheriff’s deputy has been indicted 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.


            Steven W. Burgess, 35, of Independence, Mo., was charged in an indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Tuesday, April 7, 2009. That indictment was unsealed today upon Burgess’ arrest and initial court appearance.


            The federal indictment alleges that Burgess, 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 kidnapping.


            Whitworth cautioned that the charge contained in this indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge 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.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html