Former Suffolk County police chief James Burke was arrested on Tuesday morning on multiple sexual misconduct charges, according to Associated Press. The 58-year-old, who once helmed the Gilgo Beach killings investigation, was taken into custody in Farmingville, New York. He now faces charges for offering a sex act, public lewdness, indecent exposure, and criminal solicitation.
Burke’s arrest arrives as the result of a prostitution sting in which he allegedly exposed himself and attempted to solicit a male sex worker at Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park, according to NBC New York.
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In a statement to Rolling Stone, Suffolk County Director of Communications Tania Lopez shared: “James Burke was arrested this morning and charged with one count each of Public Lewdness and Exposure of a Person. He will be issued a desk appearance ticket and will be in SAP in Central Islip on Sept. 11, 2023.”
From 2012 through 2015, Burke led the Suffolk Country Police Department as chief of police. His time there placed him at the forefront of investigations into a string of murders across Long Island’s Gilgo Beach area, the victims of which were predominately sex workers. Burke was released from his duties after three years following pleading guilty to federal charges for assaulting a suspect. In 2016, Burke was sentenced to 46 months in prison for violating the suspect’s civil rights and for pressuring police witnesses to help him cover up the attack.
“We also talked to several people who talked about Burke’s sexual proclivities, and almost every time, with him, sex intertwined with violence,” Alexis Linkletter, a crime podcast host who helmed a television special examining corruption in the Suffolk County Police Department, told Rolling Stone in 2021.
“We heard he broke a sex worker’s arm, we heard he strangled a stripper in a club. Every time we learned of a sexual encounter, there was violence involved,” she continued. “Take that for what it is. But if you have this man in charge of a police department, it’s just a recipe for total chaos as far as enforcing the law is concerned.”
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