On Wednesday, October 8, a single charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct against Thomas Burchfield of Albion was dismissed, according to a news article at Mlive.com. Burchfield claims to be a minister at the Greater Bible Way Temple in Jackson, although detectives said that the church’s website does not list him as such.
Charges were dismissed because the 7-year-old alleged victim refused to testify at a preliminary exam last week while the defendant and his family were in the courtroom. Burchfield was charged with first-degree CSC in September; prosecutor’s intend to re-issue charges against the defendant after requesting the judge place Burchfield behind a screen and close the courtroom to observers during the girl’s testimony.
Burchfield was accused of sexually assaulting the victim as he babysat her at an apartment complex in late June of this year. A police report indicates that the girl was combing Burchfield’s hair as he sat in front of the television. Burchfield stated in an interview with police that he repositioned the girl while she was sitting in his lap so that she was on his right knee, but that he did not touch her purposely in an inappropriate manner.
The girl’s mother took her to a hospital after she claimed Burchfield touched her, and she allegedly noticed some bleeding.
Michigan sex crime attorneys understand how difficult it is to prove guilty or innocence in cases involving young children. As in this case, the little girl refuses to tell her story in front of the defendant and his family. If there is no hard physical evidence, it is very difficult to secure a conviction.
Who is telling the truth, the 7-year-old girl, or Burchfield? While we cannot know at this point, if re-tried and convicted he will face up to life in prison, as first-degree criminal sexual conduct is the most serious sex offense of all. Anyone who is accused of a sex crime, regardless of whether it involves a child, rape, or child pornography, must consult with a capable and aggressive Michigan sex crime lawyer who will work to develop a solid defense and protect your freedom and reputation.