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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Montana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 27, 2022

Jury convicts Browning man of sexually abusing children

GREAT FALLS — A federal jury today convicted a Browning man of sexually abusing two children approximately 20 years ago on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

Following a two-day trial that began on Oct. 25, a jury found Michael James Burke, 43, guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and abusive sexual contact as indicted. Burke faces a maximum of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for March 9, 2023. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Burke was detained pending further proceedings.

“I am pleased the jury held Burke accountable for repeatedly sexually abusing two young girls over an extended period of time.  Our office is determined to protect children from sexual predators and will aggressively prosecute those who harm them.  I thank our prosecution team, the FBI, and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services for their diligent work on this case,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.

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 on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. 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. The victims ultimately disclosed the sexual abuse to officials in 2017.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services.

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Topic(s): 
Indian Country Law and Justice
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Clair Johnson Howard Public Affairs Officer 406-247-4623
Press Release Number: 
22-266
Updated October 27, 2022