Elderly Child Molester Sentenced to House Arrest
STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA – May 27, 2018
Lyle Burgess, a 79-year-old businessman from Stockton, California, pleaded no contest to 5-year-old girl's statutory rape. A San Joaquin County Superior Court judge sentenced him 90 days of house arrest and five years on probation due to is negotiated plea gives. He doesn't require registration as a sex offender.
The rape occurred in 2016, family attorney Kenneth Meleyco said. Burgess is a family friend. He invited the family and the girl to his cabin in Calaveras County.
According to Robert Himelblau, supervising deputy district attorney for San Joaquin County, the crime did not involve penetration.
Meleyco pointed out that it is just appalling that somebody commits an offense like this and you have protections like 290 (failure to register as a sex offender) and Jessica’s Law and someone has the propensity to harm children and now nobody is warned.
"The girl is not doing good," he underlined. "She's showing all the symptoms of somebody who's been molested. She's in counseling, and she's gonna be in counseling all her life."
Burgess’ attorney Gregory Davenport believes that Lyle Burgess accepted the plea deal despite being innocent because he is in frail health and wanted to move on with his life.
Davenport alleged that statutory rape sounds harsh but the charge is based on a claim by the girl's mother that she saw Burgess stick his hand down her daughter's pants. Burgess denies ever touching the child inappropriately. It is not a surprise considering what is happening to rapist in a prison.
“My client maintains his innocence,” Davenport said outside the courtroom.
The girl’s mother said, “I’m incredibly disgusted by his behavior and continuously disgusted by his lies.” She described his sentence as “getting off so easy” and not registering as a sex offender.
“I want other kids to be protected by possible future abuse by this man,” she said.
The victim’s father, who has known Burgess for more than two decades, said: “I don’t have too many prized possessions in this world other than my family. (My daughter) will remember this rest of her life. She sleeps on the floor outside our room.” The parents’ names are not being used to protect the identity of the minor victim.
Judge Ron Northup told the parents their statements do have an impact but “courts are somewhat limited” in ruling on a negotiated plea and reminded them that at the time it was reached, they felt it was fair.
Burgess, who founded Rare Parts Inc. in Stockton in 1981, will highly likely opt for in-home detention due to his frail physical and medical health, Davenport suggested.
The victim’s parents recently filed a civil case against the rapist seeking unspecified damages for sexual abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Davenport voiced his opinion: “I believe the allegations are motivated by greed. They are using this instance to try to gain financially.” It is easy to make such allegations, when you do not need to bring up a molested child.
According to San Joaquin County District Attorney's Office’s statement the People of the State of California reached a negotiated settlement in this case. This charge was agreed upon by all parties, including the parents of the child victim.
“The evidence presented required the judicious use of prosecutorial discretion to achieve the best outcome under the circumstances. The San Joaquin County District Attorney's office remains committed to pursuing justice on behalf of the people of the State of California,” the statement stressed.
The question is the people’s interest put first in this situation, when child’s sex offender will not be registered in the base. Parents will not have an opportunity to protect their children effectively if such practice will spread.
There’s a petition in change.org to force officials to give him more than 90 days at home arrest.