Defendant in child sex crimes trial denies allegations and tries to cast doubt on the chronology of when the crimes allegedly took place |  News, sports, work
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Defendant in child sex crimes trial denies allegations and tries to cast doubt on the chronology of when the crimes allegedly took place | News, sports, work

Photo taken by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

George Burgess testifies on June 10, 2024 in Douglas County District Court. Burgess is accused of rape and sexual assault between 2017 and 2019.

A man accused of raping a young girl testified in Douglas County District Court on Monday, denying he had done anything to the girl and trying to cast doubt on her memories and timeline of events.

The man, George Joseph Burgess Jr., 45, will appear in court again this week after a brief delay due to illness. He was charged with two counts of rape and 11 counts of indecent liberties with a child.

The crimes Burgess is accused of allegedly occurred between January 2017 and February 2019 in Douglas County, when the girl was between 7 and 9 years old. The girl also alleged that Burgess molested her at multiple locations while he traveled across the country with her mother, but those allegations are not part of the Douglas County case.

Two weeks ago, the Journal-World reported, the girl testified that Burgess attacked her multiple times at several budget hotels, at a campground and at the Lawrence Community Shelter.

On Monday, Burgess, represented by attorney Dakota Loomis, tried to cast doubt on details of the girl’s story and timeline of events. In particular, Burgess stated that he was in prison for part of the period during which the abuse allegedly occurred.

Court records show Burgess was convicted in 2016 in Leavenworth County of misdemeanor child endangerment and domestic battery for an incident that occurred in 2014. He was originally given probation but failed to comply with the terms and conditions. he was required to serve a 12-month sentence in the Leavenworth County Jail.

Burgess testified Monday that his prison sentence began in April 2017. He said that halfway through his sentence, he escaped from prison for almost a month. “I got out of prison one day,” he said. “I had outside duties and was gone for 27 days.”

Court records show Burgess escaped on July 20, 2017, and in August 2017 he was arrested and taken back to prison. Burgess did not say where he was at the time, but said he did not see the girl.

Burgess also testified that in January 2019, he was no longer with the girl and her mother, but was working in Kansas City, Missouri; he said he had an argument with the girl’s mother and “I’m fed up with it. I packed my backpack and left.” He testified that at that time he had telephone conversations with the girl and her mother, but did not see them in person.

Burgess also said that some, but not all, of the hotels where the girl claimed she experienced violence were places where he had never stayed.

The prosecutor in the case, Assistant District Attorney Joshua Seiden, asked whether Burgess spent time alone with the girl between January 2017 and February 2019.

“Yes, except when I was in prison,” Burgess said.

Seiden also questioned why Burgess seemed so confident in the course of events now, after hearing the testimony of the girl and other witnesses. Seiden said that when police first approached Burgess about the allegations, he was unable to recall basic details about where he, the girl and her mother lived.

Burgess said if there was anything he didn’t tell police during his two interviews, it was because he was nervous at the time.

“It’s hard to tell the police about every place you went when you were homeless or high,” Burgess said.

Also in his evidence, Burgess claimed that the girl had incorrectly remembered various facts from previous statements and statements to police. He pointed to, for example, a trip she took with Burgess and her mother to California; the girl told police she had a broken arm at the time and was wearing a cast, but Burgess claimed the injury was just a sprain and the cast was removed before leaving.

Closing arguments in Burgess’ trial are scheduled for Tuesday morning. Burgess is being held in the Douglas County Jail on $100,000 bond or bond.