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Clarion man pleads in prison cases

August 17, 2017 Digital Media Exclusive

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Charles W. Burgess Jr.

A Clarion man pleaded guilty to three cases in Butler County Court on Tuesday, including allegations of assaulting a prison guard, damaging his prison cell and lying to police while imprisoned in the Butler County Prison.

Charles W. Burgess Jr., 23, pleaded guilty to felony aggravated harassment by a prisoner, misdemeanor institutional vandalism and unsworn falsification to law enforcement before county Judge William Shaffer.

The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 12 to 36 months on the felony charge, and four to 12 months on the other two charges, with the judge deciding at sentencing if they will run consecutive or concurrent. This could mean he spends 12-36 months in jail if run concurrent, or 20-50 months if consecutive.

Burgess had been in the Butler County Prison since Oct. 21, having first served a sentence in a felony shoplifting case, officials said. During that time, authorities said Burgess provided a false written statement accusing two other inmates of forcing him to perform sex acts on them twice between Nov. 21 and 25.

The accused inmates denied wrongdoing, according to court documents. Burgess' cell mate and video surveillance also contradicted Burgess' accusations.

When confronted by police, documents said, he “admitted that he had made up the incident so that he could get moved to another pod in the prison.”

The felony charge stems from an incident on Jan. 17, where Butler County detectives say Burgess spit in the face of a correctional officer during a disturbance in his cell.

He is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 7.

A full report will appear in the Butler Eagle.

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