Browning man convicted of sexually abusing two girls sentenced to more than 18 years in prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Montana
GREAT FALLS — A Browning man convicted of sexually abusing two girls approximately 20 years ago on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation was sentenced today to 18 years and nine months in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
A federal jury convicted Michael James Burke, 43, on Oct. 22, 2022 of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and of abusive sexual contact of a child following a two-day trial.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided.
The government alleged in court documents and at trial that Burke committed numerous sexual acts against victims Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 over an extended period of time in Browning. Burke sexually abused Jane Doe 1 between 2000 and 2003 and Jane Doe 2 between 1999 and 2002. Both victims were under the age of 12 at the time. Burke threatened the victims and told them both that no one would believe them. The victims ultimately disclosed the sexual abuse to officials in 2017.
The government said in its sentencing memo that the victims sustained significant emotional trauma and included a statement from Jane Doe 1 about how the sexual abuse has affected her life. In her statement, Jane Doe 1 said she grew up with depression, anxiety, PTSD and low self-esteem.
“For a good majority of my pre-teens I was afraid for my life and my family’s life because of the threats that were made. If I said anything or told anyone about what happened I was afraid of someone or myself getting severely injured, which is why it took me so long to get help,” Jane Doe 1 said in her statement. “I do my best to avoid anything that triggers all of the horrible memories, which is quite stressful. Having gone through all of this I’m very physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. …I’m still healing from all of this and know I will unfortunately be dealing with this for the rest of my life.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer
Updated March 20, 2023
Press Release Number: 23-91
Indian Country Law and Justice