Former Oklahoma Sheriff On Trial In Sex Case

Wednesday, January 7th 2009, 8:11 am
By: News On 6

Associated Press

FAIRVIEW, Okla. (AP) -- A prosecutor says former Custer County sheriff used his influence over female jail inmates and drug court defendants to demand sex from them.

But a defense attorney for former sheriff Mike Burgess told jurors Tuesday that the women who accused Burgess of sexual misconduct are either lying or had consensual sex with him.

Related story: 8/12/2008 Former Sheriff Accused In Sex Slave Case

Opening statements began in Burgess' trial on 36 charges of rape, rape by instrumentation, kidnapping, sexual battery and oral sodomy. He's pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Jim Swartz says Burgess once asked a drug court defendant to meet him at an Oklahoma City motel. Swartz says the woman was afraid this would violate travel restrictions imposed by the court but she agreed after Burgess told her: "I'm, the sheriff. I'll take care of that."

Attorneys say more than 40 witnesses are expected to testify and the trial will take about two weeks.