In March 2009, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a physical altercation between Burke and another individual at a motel room in Sandpoint, Idaho. While investigating the incident, police were told that Burke showed a witness photos of naked children on his laptop computer. Police arrested Burke on child pornography charges and seized his computer.
Several days later, FBI agents interviewed Burke. He confessed to having over 200,000 sexually explicit images of children on his computer, a fact later confirmed by FBI forensic analysis. Burke told the agents that he fled West Virginia after making bail on similar charges in that state and had been traveling throughout the country until the time of his arrest.
“Those who possess and distribute child pornography aid and abet the continuing abuse of children, who are the most vulnerable of victims,” said United States Attorney Wendy Olson. “The strict penalty imposed by the court accurately reflects the views held by the public, Congress, and this office with regard to such conduct. We will continue to seek appropriate punishment and hopefully deter these terrible crimes against children. I want to commend the cooperative investigation of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.”