Local News

Suspect in two sexual assaults pleads guilty to attempted rape

Posted March 16, 2009

— A Durham man pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of attempted second-degree rape stemming from separate incidents, including one that involved a former Duke University student.

Judge Orlando Hudson sentenced Michael Jermaine Burch to between four years and 5 ½ years in prison. Burch was also ordered to stay away from both victims and agreed to testify against a second suspect in one case.

Suspect in two rapes makes plea deal Suspect in two rapes makes plea deal

Prosecutors said that both victims agreed to the plea deal because they wanted put the painful cases behind them.

The mother of one victim addressed Burch in the courtroom.

"With your violent act, my daughter's life and our family's life were changed forever in ways you cannot imagine. And then you did it again," she said. "I am glad to see this nightmare come to an end."

Burch was charged with second-degree rape about a week after a Duke freshman said a man raped her in a bathroom during a house party at 405 Gattis St. on Feb. 11, 2007. He was released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

On Nov. 14, 2008, he was arrested on charges of second-degree rape, first-degree sex offense and felony aiding and abetting in an alleged assault that had occurred June 2008. He managed to post a $1.85 million bond.

In March 2008, bond guidelines were revised after a series of cases in which suspects who had bonded out of jail were charged with committing new crimes. The new guidelines suggest a bond of $500,000 for second-degree rape.

The former Duke student's father said his daughter had to leave the school following the crime against her and transferred to a university in another state.


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  • Lizzie27701 Mar 17, 2009

    This was a plea agreement with the State. The sentence is part of the plea agreement. The judge didn't decide the sentence, the Assistant District Attorney did. And Nancy, sentencing guidelines DIDN'T change, bond guidelines did. Get your facts straight before you post inane comments that have no bearing in truth.

  • 68_polara Mar 17, 2009

    Judge Orlando Hudson is the lead Judge in Durham County and has a reputation of handing down very light sentences to repeat violent offenders. I had the displeasure of siting in the jury box for a week to see a repeat violent offender who injured two convenience store clerks during tow separate robberies in the same night when stopped he was also driving drunk. Orlando sentences him to two years, he served one. With sentences like that it was a just a waste of everyones time and he has probably killed someone by now. We need to wake up people and stop reelecting these liberal judges and officials.

  • meh2 Mar 16, 2009

    Judge Hudson has wronged the community he was sworn to protect.

  • sweetsea Mar 16, 2009

    Orlando Hudson is a disgrace to our judicial system. He should never preside over a trial again. This sentence was a joke.

  • COPs eye Mar 16, 2009

    I am a little shocked at the lack of time he has been sentenced, but what do you expect from the justice system today. How in the world did he post such high bonds to get out anyway.

  • rae1977 Mar 16, 2009

    4 to 5 1/2 years in jail??? Is that what repeat sex offenders get now days? I, as a rape victim, would never have agreed to this plea deal. I know the pain, and there is no amount of time in jail that he could spend that would make me happy. Rape is not punishable by death, but it should be. He has destroyed these two women for life. They can never get back what he took from them.

  • muddlark77 Mar 16, 2009

    I hope someone asks Tracey Cline why she agreed to this deal.

    And where are the feminists in Durham who were so anxious to lynch the lacrosse team? And the Duke professors?

  • US VET Mar 16, 2009

    Judge Orlando Hudson... What a joke to justice!!

  • All child molesters should die Mar 16, 2009

    What? He was sentenced to between 4 and 5 1/2 years? That's unbelievable.

    He should have received 25 years, MINIMUM!

    Some judges, should not be judges. That was a slap on the wrist!


  • Paladin2 Mar 16, 2009

    To: Judge Orlando Hudson. That really sends a message to these thugs! No wonder Durham is such a cess pool.