Pair who ran massage parlor in home sentenced to 2 years

April 13, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh and Suzanne Loudermilk | Mike Farabaugh and Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writers

A Creswell couple, convicted of running a house of prostitution and making a sexually explicit videotape of a 17-year-old girl, were sentenced yesterday to five years in prison, with three years suspended, for child pornography.

Each received a one-year concurrent sentence on prostitution convictions.

Julie Gaye Burchett, 41, and Robert Dean Burchett, 50, had pleaded guilty to the charges in Harford Circuit Court Nov. 23.

Before sentencing the couple, Judge William O. Carr chastised the Burchetts for their actions. "I think what you did was at the very least appalling," he said.

The judge also ordered the couple to attend a rehabilitation program for sexual offenders.

Joseph I. Cassilly, the Harford state's attorney, had recommended five-year prison terms for the two.

According to investigators' reports and the statement of facts that Mr. Cassilly presented to the court, the Burchetts' arrest culminated a four-month state police probe of a massage parlor that advertised in the City Paper as J.G.'s Body Tender. The massage parlor was operated from the Burchetts' home, then in the 2500 block of Cavalry Road.

The investigation began after complaints from Harford residents in April 1992.

In July, a 17-year-old girl gave investigators details about the prostitution operation. The girl said she was under strong psychological pressure from Julie and Robert Burchett to pose in lingerie, in the nude and perform sexual acts while she was videotaped by Robert Burchett.

Investigators said the girl told police about the activities because she had learned that the Burchetts were trying to coerce another girl, then 14, into similar acts.

An undercover state trooper went to the massage parlor east of Bel Air on Aug. 28, 1992, and paid $45 for a massage. At the end of the session, the trooper said that Julie Burchett solicited $60 in exchange for sex. The trooper paid her, then arrested her on prostitution charges.

Investigators later seized records and videotapes, and determined that the girl who reported the couple was three days shy of her 18th birthday when the videotapes of her were made.

Police also seized records that listed customers' names, how much they paid and what sex acts were performed with them.

Other seized videotapes depicted customers -- who did not know that their activities were being recorded -- performing sex acts with Julie Burchett, police said.

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