Browning Man Convicted of Child Sex Abuse

A federal jury found Michael James Burke guilty of two counts of child sex abuse

By Maggie Dresser

A 43-year-old Browning man who sexually abused two children on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation 20 years ago was convicted yesterday in federal court following a two-day trial, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.

On Oct. 27, a jury found Michael James Burke guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and abusive sexual contact. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for March 9, 2023. The court will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Burke was detained pending further proceedings.

“I am pleased the jury held Burke accountable for repeatedly sexually abusing two young girls over an extended period of time. Our office is determined to protect children from sexual predators and will aggressively prosecute those who harm them. I thank our prosecution team, the FBI, and Blackfeet Law Enforcement Services for their diligent work on this case,” Laslovich said.

According to court documents and trial testimony, Burke committed numerous sexual acts against two victims, who were both under the age of 12 at the time, over an extended period of time in Browning on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Burke sexually abused the first victim between 2000 and 2003 and the second victim between 1999 and 2002. The victims disclosed the sexual abuse to officials in 2017.

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