Couple admit sex charges

November 28, 1993|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

A Creswell couple charged with running a house of prostitution and making a sexually explicit videotape of a minor pleaded guilty in Harford Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Julie Gaye Burchett, 41, and Robert Dean Burchett Sr., 50, sat silently as Harford State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly read the statement of facts before Judge William O. Carr.

In return for their guilty pleas, Mr. Cassilly agreed to recommend that each defendant serve no more than five years in prison and to allow the defense to argue for a less severe sentence for his clients.

Judge Carr ordered a presentence investigation of the Burchetts and set sentencing for Jan. 11.

The Burchetts have been free on $25,000 bond each since their arrest in August 1992.

According to investigators' reports and the trial statement of facts, the Burchetts' arrest culminated a four-month state police investigation into a massage parlor advertised in the City Paper as J. G.'s Body Tender operating at 2505 Calvary Road.

An investigation began after complaints from citizens in April 1992. In July, investigators were given details of the prostitution operation by a minor girl.

The girl told police that in August and September 1989, she had come under strong psychological pressure from Robert and Julie Burchett to pose in lingerie, in the nude and perform sexual acts while being videotaped by Robert Burchett.

Investigators said the girl came forward because she had learned that the Burchetts were trying to coerce another girl, then 14, into the same activities.

On Aug. 28, 1992, an undercover state trooper went to the massage parlor at the Burchetts' Calvary Road home east of Bel Air and paid $45 for a massage.

At the end of the session, the trooper said, Julie Burchett solicited $60 in exchange for sex. The trooper said he gave her the money and then arrested her on a charge of solicitation for prostitution.

After obtaining a search warrant, investigators returned to the Burchetts' home where they seized videotapes and records.

Police said the videotapes depicted male customers, apparently unaware they were being filmed, performing sexual acts with Julie Burchett.

Conversations recorded during those taping sessions indicated Robert Burchett was aware of his wife's sexual activities, Mr. Cassilly said.

Investigators said one of the videotapes seized was made in September 1989 and depicted sexually explicit activity by the minor girl, who was four days away from her 18th birthday at the time.

Also seized were business records dated between 1990 and 1992.

Names of clients, their telephone numbers, how much they paid and what sexual acts were performed were listed, Mr. Cassilly said.

The records also indicated that more than $69,000 was collected from customers of the massage parlor, Mr. Cassilly said.

Robert Burchett was charged Sept. 15, 1992, with manufacturing child pornography and maintaining a residence for the purpose of prostitution.

Julie Burchett was charged with soliciting and permitting a minor to engage in child pornography.

In other legal matters involving the Burchetts, federal tax liens were filed Monday against the couple, jointly and separately.

Court documents show they allegedly failed to pay federal income tax amounting to more than $40,000 between 1985 and 1990.

On May 25, 1993, Judge Maurice W. Baldwin signed a judgment against the Burchetts in a civil case brought against them by a neighbor.

Judge Baldwin ordered them to pay $9,000 in damages for trees removed from their neighbors' property.

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