Blue Springs Man Admits Sexual Abuse of Daughter’s Friends
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Richard Burroughs, the Blue Springs, Mo., soccer coach accused of molesting his own daughter’s friends, pleaded guilty Monday morning in Jackson County Court to three counts of child molestation.
Burroughs, 43, was arrested in January and charged with first-degree statutory sodomy and first-degree child molestation for assaults against three girls all under the age of 14.
According to court documents, Burroughs sexually abused two of the girls when they were at his house for a sleep-over with his daughter.
“It’s troubling to us when these types of offenders find those kinds of positions to put themselves in,” said prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker. “They earn the trust of parents. So, my message, I guess to parents would be trust your kids, listen to your kids if they have something to tell you, make sure you’re listening.”
In a statement released by the family of one of the victim’s, they said they are relieved the girls will not have to testify at the trial. In exchange for the guilty plea on child molestation, prosecutors agreed to drop three other charges.
“Hearing him admit guilt is a huge thing for these girls,” said the family member, who wanted to remain anonymous.
Burroughs will be sent to a sex offender assessment unit in Farmington, Mo., to be evaluated before his sentencing in August.
According to the probable cause statement, a 12-year-old girl told police Burroughs came into his daughter’s bedroom where she and his daughter were staying and touched her when he thought she was asleep. She says she woke up the next morning and told the daughter, who suggested she must have dreamed it. This occurred in October or November.
An 11-year-old told police she was at the computer at Burroughs’ house when he approached her, telling her he wanted to show her something on the computer. She says he rubbed his arm slowly down her chest.
The two victims spent the night together on New Year’s Eve, shared their stories and then decided to tell the school counselor.
During the police interview, Burroughs explained he covered the girls with a blanket in the middle of the night when the 12-year-old friend was sleeping over, but said his hand did not roam anywhere it shouldn’t. When asked by police if they could look at his computer, Burroughs said he should consult an attorney.
The mother of the 12-year-old girl says Burroughs has been coaching her daughter’s soccer team for four or five years and also coaches her softball team.
According to court documents, the third victim, a 13-year-old girl, came forward after seeing a report about Burroughs on the news. She told police that Burroughs had molested her while she was home alone sometime between December 2010 and January 2011.
“There can never be a penalty that can be tough enough, that’s really going to grapple with this issue,” Peters-Baker said. “Our kids are so vulnerable and it’s our obligation to protect them. So we have the laws that we have and I will use those to the fullest of our ability.”
Burroughs will be sentenced on August 27. He remains under house arrest and can’t have any contact with the victims or any of the other girls on the soccer team.