Man says 44 years for sex abuse too much

EUGENE — An Oregon man sentenced to 44 years for sexually abusing teenage girls said it's unfair that he may have to serve a longer term than a fellow inmate for the past seven months, a killer who got only 25 years.

Brandon Burge said Wednesday he has filed an appeal of a jury verdict that convicted him of 12 felony counts of sexual abuse and 15 additional charges, including online sexual corruption of a child and assault.

Burge said he did not kill anybody, unlike Jarrod Pardun, who was sentenced in May to 25 years in prison for murdering his neighbor in Creswell. Burge and Pardun were both inmates at the Lane County Jail before trial.

"I didn't murder anyone and I didn't rape anyone," Burge told The Register-Guard during an interview at the jail.

None of the charges the 23-year-old Burge faced carries a mandatory minimum prison term upon conviction and none involved physical force.

"I didn't go on the hunt for these girls," he said. "They were all friends of mine. I was just a young guy having fun."

The jury convicted Burge of sexually abusing 12 girls between the ages of 14 and 17.

If his conviction and prison sentence stand, the Cottage Grove native won't be released from prison until he's well into his 50s — and that's only if his sentence is reduced by up to 20 percent for good behavior.

"I'm very confident" about a successful appeal, Burge said. "But if it doesn't work out, I would feel like my life is over."

Lane County Chief Deputy District Attorney Patty Perlow said prosecutors believe justice was served when the jury returned its verdict and Judge Karsten Rasmussen sentenced Burge to a lengthy prison term.

"The judge has the obligation of weighing not just what is an appropriate punishment, but there's also a community safety (concern) the court took into consideration as far as protecting other young girls," Perlow said.

Rasmussen said Monday during Burge's sentencing hearing that the convicted sex offender refused to accept any responsibility for the crimes and provided "remarkably false and almost routinely self-serving testimony" during the trial.

Prosecutors said Burge often bought his victims alcohol before having unprotected sex with them.

Perlow said Burge solicited teens for sex while online, and went hunting for young girls at places such as Valley River Center and downtown Eugene — "areas that provided targets for him."

While Perlow said at least two of Burge's victims reported their encounters to police, prosecutors used Burge's own list of contacts to track down several other girls with whom he'd had sexual relations.

Perlow alleges the list of potential victims is much longer.

But prosecutors said they didn't charge Burge with crimes involving additional victims because they wanted to present a clear case at trial involving the most reliable evidence and witness testimony.

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