Local News

Suspect in two sexual assaults pleads guilty to attempted rape

Posted March 16, 2009 2:11 p.m. EDT
Updated March 16, 2009 6:58 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.