The Custer County sheriff has been accused of running a sex-slave ring, allegedly threatening female inmates with prison if they did not submit to his demands, according to a lawsuit filed last week, The Oklahoman reported.
Sheriff Mike Burgess faces the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of 12 women who at one time or another were in the jail or the county's drug court, according to the story.
According to the suit, cited in the story, Burgess allegedly had sex with one woman more than 30 times. Burgess allegedly intimated that he "got her into the drug court program and if she did not provide the required sexual favors, he would get her out," the Oke reported of the suit.
Wielding such power was within Burgess' sphere of influence, because of his law enforcement position and membership on the drug court, according to the story.
One female was put in jeopardy of violating her sentence because Burgess wanted her to drive twice into Oklahoma City to a hotel where he was staying " even though drug court rules stated she could not leave Custer County. One such hookup happened the night before the woman visited the Legislature as a showcase example of the drug court program, according to the story.
Also according to the Oke, other allegations in the lawsuit include:One female inmate placed in an isolation cell allegedly was provided only an extremely small gown, leaving her breasts exposed. The act allegedly was in retaliation for her repeated requests for prescription drugs for her depression. A jailer is alleged to have fondled the woman's breasts and paraded male trusties in front of her cell to ogle her. Burgess allegedly ordered a woman to drink alcohol, which violated her drug court mandates, as part of an alleged pattern of "extreme sexual slavery, including sexual battery, sodomy, rape and blackmail," per the lawsuit. Burgess allegedly offered to get the court to impose less severe punishments if women he picked up on drug court violations performed a sex act on him. Burgess' employees allegedly staged wet T-shirt contests featuring female inmates, offering ciggies to those who would flash their breasts. A female inmate had to bare her breasts to receive food and aspirin from a jail employee. A woman allegedly initially agreed to perform sodomy for Burgess so she could became a jail trusty, with more freedom. When she eventually refused, she lost her trusty status.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an investigation into the allegations, the story states. And, as one might expect " but just for the record " state law prohibits jailers or law enforcement officers from having sex with those in custody. Burgess did not comment in the story.
According to the Custer County sheriff's office Web site, Burgess began working in law enforcement with the Edmond Police Department in 1972. His first full term as Custer County sheriff began in 1996.
"Sheriff Burgess always has time to talk with his constituents and would like to invite them to 'come set a spell' and drink a cup of coffee with him," according to the site.