News and Press Releases

Previously Convicted Sex Offender Charged with Child Exploitation and Enticement Pursuant to Project Safe Childhood Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2007

Exploitation Charges Carry Mandatory Life Sentence Upon Conviction

Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Thomas Spota, Suffolk County District Attorney, and Richard Dormer, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department, announced this morning the indictment of Suffolk County resident JOSEPH DAVID BURKETT, a previously convicted sex offender, on federal charges relating to child exploitation and enticement.Footnote BURKETT’s arraignment is scheduled for 1:30 tomorrow afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge William D. Wall, at the U.S. Courthouse, 100 Federal Plaza, Central Islip, New York.


The indictment alleges that, between November 2006 and May 2007, BURKETT enticed and coerced two boys to engage in sexually explicit acts in order to produce child pornography images. BURKETT is charged with seven counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Juvenile and one count of Computer Enticement of a Minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 2251(a) and 2422(b), respectively.

In 1988, BURKETT pled guilty in Suffolk County to state charges of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree for sexually assaulting a child under the age of eleven. As a result of that prior conviction, if convicted on any of the current federal exploitation charges, BURKETT faces a mandatory life sentence pursuant to Title 18, United States Code, Section 3559(e).

On June 14, 2007, BURKETT was arrested by Suffolk County authorities on charges relating to the sexual abuse of the same boys who are the victims in the current federal charges. In light of his 1988 conviction, the Suffolk County District Attorney and Suffolk County Police Department, members of the Project Safe Childhood Task Force, referred BURKETT for federal prosecution. BURKETT has remained in custody since his arrest on the state charges.

“Protecting children from sexual exploitation is one of the highest priorities of this Office, the Department of Justice, and our local law enforcement partners,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “Sex offenders are on notice that they will face the full weight of federal, state, and local law enforcement.” Mr. Campbell extended his appreciation to the Suffolk County District Attorney and Suffolk County Police Department for their assistance in the case.

District Attorney Spota stated, “The federal and state prosecution of this defendant, who has a record of molesting children dating back into the 1980’s, is an example of what Project Safe Childhood can accomplish when we combine resources with federal law enforcement to protect vulnerable youngsters using the Internet.”

Police Commissioner Dormer stated, “The investigation into Joseph Burkett began when a concerned and observant mother made an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers reporting that Mr. Burkett was online and may be looking to exploit young boys. The subsequent arrest and prosecution is the result of the continuing cooperation between the Suffolk County Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. With the eyes and ears of the public reporting suspicious activity and the continuing cooperative efforts of law enforcement, a dangerous pedophile has been taken off the streets.”

Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative, was created in February 2006 to protect children from on-line exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better investigate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit “http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney
Allen L. Bode.


The Defendant:

Name: JOSEPH DAVID BURKETT
Age: 41



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