Gattis rape suspect jailed this month

A man charged with the second-degree rape of a then-freshman in February 2007 was arrested on the same charges Nov. 14.

Michael Burch, a Durham resident, is currently being held in Durham County Jail on $1.85 million bond, Durham Police Department clerks said.

Burch also faces charges of first-degree sexual offense and felony aiding and abetting, for crimes which allegedly occurred June 21, said Candy Clark, an administrative assistant in the Durham County District Attorney's Office. He is scheduled to appear in Criminal District Court Dec. 8 before a grand jury.

Burch, who is not a Duke student, was arrested in February 2007 for allegedly raping a then-18-year-old freshman at around 3 a.m. Feb. 11, 2007 at an off-campus party at 405 Gattis St. The party was hosted by members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and police had found marijuana, cocaine and Oxycontin in the house.

Burch was held on a $50,000 bond and released from jail the same day.

"The disparity between $50,000 and [the new bond of] $1.85 million is just so negligent in our minds," the first victim's father said Monday. "[My daughter] was validated, but unfortunately my question to the initial judges is, 'How come my 18-year-old daughter knew better than you?'"

The victim's father said he feels there was an injustice in the difference between the bond amount for the three wrongly indicted members of the 2006 men's lacrosse team and Burch's bond in 2007.

"We feel eschewed because the Duke lacrosse players had to post $400,000 and this individual had to post $50,000," he said. "From a racial aspect, on the outside looking in, [it seems they thought] 'four white kids from the North let's make it $400,000 and for a black guy let's make it $50,000.' A crime is a crime."

Durham County Magistrate Joseph Payne issued Burch's bond in 2007, and Magistrate J.E. Willard issued his current bond, court clerks said.

Burch was originally scheduled to appear in North Carolina Superior Court Nov. 10 for the alleged Gattis St. rape, but the court date was rescheduled to Jan. 20 at the victim's request. Her father said they wished to delay the case so that it would not impede her school work.

The student left Duke after the incident to recuperate because she was scared that the suspect was on the streets, her father said.

Durham Assistant District Attorney Janice Paul, who is representing the student, was unavailable for comment.


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