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Officials: Former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke charged with offering a sex act, public lewdness

Burke previously pleaded guilty to beating a suspect in police custody and covering it up.

News 12 Staff

Aug 22, 2023, 4:24 PM

Updated 301 days ago


Former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke was arrested Monday for soliciting someone for sex at a Farmingville park, officials say.
They say the incident happened at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Bald Hill at the Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park.
According to officials, Suffolk County park rangers were in plain clothes at the time because of recent complaints about activity in the area.
Officials say park rangers who encountered Burke did not know who the former police chief was until he identified himself.
Suffolk County park ranger Sgt. Brian Quattrini says it appeared as if Burke was attempting to avoid arrest.
“He was expressing to us how this would be a public humiliation for him and such,” Quattrini says.
Burke has been charged with offering a sex act, public lewdness, indecent exposure, and criminal solicitation, with additional potential charges pending.
He was allowed to walk out of Suffolk County’s Sixth Precinct in Selden at around 5 p.m.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison says Burke may be charged with more crimes.
He is due to be arraigned in court on those charges on Sept. 11.
Burke was Suffolk County’s police chief from 2012 to 2015.
He later pleaded guilty to federal charges for beating a handcuffed man suspected of stealing pornographic material, sex toys and other items.
Burke was sentenced to 46 months in prison for that offense.
Former Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and one of Spota’s aides were convicted of helping Burke cover up the incident.

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