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News Macon County Sheriff braces for lengthy child sexual exploitation investigation

Christopher Lee Burk Nearly two months have gone by since Macon County Sheriff's Department first began an investigation into Christopher Lee Burk on March 11.

“We plan to continue to conduct a very thorough and in-depth investigation,” said Sheriff Robbie Holland. “There is no time limit and we plan to sift through all of the evidence.”

Burk was arrested on April 12 at the Asheville Airport and charged with six counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

“Burk works out of town as an engineer and we knew when he was landing in Atlanta and when he would be leaving Atlanta and flying to Asheville,” said Sheriff Holland on Tuesday. “We worked with Asheville officials to meet Burk when he got off the plane in Asheville.”

According to Holland, because Burk was aware of the investigation, it was crucial to apprehend him as soon as possible to prevent him from absconding or tampering with any evidence. At the time of his arrest, one laptop computer was seized in connection to the investigation.

Warrants issued for Burk's arrest cite that Burk was charged with multiple accounts of first degree sex exploitation of a minor after “unlawfully, willfully, and feloniously did use, induce, coerce, encourage and facilitate an unknown female minor under 10 years of age, to engage in sexual activity, a sexual act other than intercourse for a live performance and the purpose of producing material contacting visual representation depicting this activity.”

According to documents on file at the Macon County Clerk of Courts office, on March 13 officers first seized two hard drives, as well as multiple CD ROMS and floppy discs from the basement of Burk's house. On April 14, officers executed a search warrant and seized seven items of evidence from the home. One HP all-in-one computer monitor/hard drive, one panasonic video camera, and five mini digital video cassettes.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Holland reported that officers have only been able to examine one of the computers seized during the investigation so far. While examining that computer, MCSO detectives, with help from the State Bureau of Investigation, found dozens of images that led to Burk's arrest for sexual exploitation.

After further investigation, officers found several photos and videos that appeared to have taken place in the back seat of Burk's 2004 Toyota Tacoma truck. Officers seized Burk's truck on April 29 to be used as evidence during the investigation.

Since first being arrested and charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, Burk has since been charged with five additional counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Holland anticipates more charges coming forth as the investigation continues.

“This case is being treated as any other criminal case against children and all children will have the opportunity and resources we have available here through KIDS Place and other entities,” said Holland. “Ensuring the safety of the children is our number one priority.”

Burk is still being held at the Macon County Detention Center under a $500,000 bond. A special called Grand Jury hearing will be held on May 13.

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact the Macon County Sheriff's Office at (828)349-2104.





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published: 10/18/2013
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