Local News

Suspect Arrested in Connection With Duke Sexual Assault

Posted February 19, 2007 1:57 p.m. EST
Updated February 20, 2007 4:55 p.m. EST

— Durham police on Monday arrested a suspect in connection with a sexual assault reported earlier this month at a party near Duke University.

Michael Jermaine Burch, 21, of 322 Junction Road, was taken into custody as he was leaving his job at a discount department store Monday morning. He was charged with second-degree rape.

An 18-year-old female Duke University student told officers that in the early-morning hours of Feb. 11 a man raped her in the bathroom of 405 Gattis St. during a party.

Police have released few other details about the case, including whether Burch, who is not a Duke student, had been invited to the party or if he knew anyone there.

About 50 people were at the party at the time of the alleged assault, and police said that investigators focused on Burch after interviewing the victim and others at the party.

Burch, who does not have a criminal record, bonded out of the Durham County Jail Monday night. He appeared in court Tuesday afternoon, where he said he would hire his own attorney.

His next scheduled court appearance is on March 20.

Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs at Duke said Monday that the university is continuing to provide support to the woman and other students.

The party was organized by members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity. One fraternity member lives at the house.