Rochester man faces trial in sex assault on 14-year-old who was his girlfriend

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Michael Burke (Somersworth Police photo)

DOVER - Police say a Rochester man had sex with a 14-year-old girl he was dating numerous times, took videos of sex acts he had with her and then assaulted her when she confronted him about cheating on her, according to court documents filed at Strafford County Superior Court.

Michael Burke, 19, of 9 Farmington Road, Apt. 22, was indicted last month on a Class A felony count of aggravated felonious sexual assault, accusing him of engaging in a pattern of sex assault against a 14-year-old child who is not his legal spouse; felony possession of child sex abuse images, felonious sexual assault for engaging in oral sex with a 14-year-old child and a Class B felony charge of assault for an incident on March 11. He also faces two misdemeanor simple assaults in connection with the case.

In an affidavit filed by Somersworth Police, officers first learned of the assault on March 14 when the girl's mother reported her 14-year-old daughter had been assaulted by her boyfriend, Burke.

According to the affidavit, Burke assaulted the victim while at a relative's house in Somersworth when the victim confronted him about cheating on her. During the argument outside the relative's apartment, the victim said Burke, refusing to continue the conversation, at some point ordered her to move so he could return inside, which she refused. According to the affidavit, he then threw her aside causing her to hit the ground. When she got back up, she slapped him, followed by Burke throwing a violent punch at her, the document reads, a punch that the victim dodged.

"He then grabbed (the victim's) head and pushed it back up against the apartment complex. He then proceeded to strangle (her) with his hands, lifting her ... off the ground," the affidavit reads.

During the same interview with police the victim noted that Burke had begun a pattern of abuse beginning about three months into their six-month relationship.

The affidavit also reveals that the mother of the victim was initially told by her that Burke was 15. Burke, meanwhile, says in the affidavit, the victim said at first she was 17.

In later interviews with police, the victim said she at first represented her age to Burke as 16, but he found out differently when he saw her eighth-grade graduation picture on Facebook.

On March 25 Burke was interviewed by police, admitting he had been in a relationship with the victim since September but had never had sex with her, according to the affidavit. He said he broke up with her when he learned she was just 14.

Regarding the strangulation incident, Burke told investigators the victim initiated the violence, striking him in the face several times. He said after being hit repeatedly he "used his hand" to move her from the front of the door so he could enter the key code to re-enter the apartment, but it didn't work, so he left the premises. He told investigators he never strangled her.

Toward the end of the interview Somersworth Detective Eric Chandler asked Burke if he had been trying to contact the victim, whereupon Burke said no but the victim had contacted him in a video on Snapchat in which she apparently looks at the screen and says I'm "in my bed all alone."

Police later obtained a search warrant on the phone and during a forensic investigation found a video showing what is alleged to be the victim performing oral sex on Burke.

During a second forensic interview of the victim, she said it was Burke's idea to make the video. The victim also said Burke sent her a Snapchat or Instagram of all the pictures she sent him while they were together including the video after they broke up.

She also advised police Burke contacted her the morning he was arrested on March 25, saying he was angry and told her he wouldn't "go to jail for her skanky ass" or something to that effect.

Some of Burke's statements contradicted what he had earlier told Detective Chandler, the affidavit notes.

A pretrial hearing is set for early next month.

The indictments were handed down July 14 and released July 19.

An indictment is not an indication of guilt, only that enough evidence has been presented to move forward to trial.

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