Cyber Arrest Nets Former Abuse Victim - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/16/06-Longview

Cyber Arrest Nets Former Abuse Victim

        Of three men arrested in Longview on a statewide cyber-crimes sting, one turns out to be a former sexual abuse victim himself. 34 year old Tommy Burt was only a year ago walking the halls of Austin trying to toughen laws in sexual abuse cases. Now he finds himself arrested for soliciting on-line.

    "We have arrested people ranging from ages 19 to 73, they range from students to mechanics up to a retired doctor of economics" said Longview Police Cyber Crimes Detective Ed Jones.

     Burt and his mother, Stephanie Burt, worked for years as independent lobbyists in Austin trying to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases. Burt himself is a survivor of sexual assault as a child at the hands of his church minister Kenneth Ward. Interviewed in 2002 Stephanie remembered her son's pain.

     "He started shouting at me that i didn't understand, that my best friends brother had molested and hurt him" said Stephanie Burt.

    A former East Texas Baptist University student, he was among 3 suspected child predators arrested in East Texas in a statewide cyber-sting operation. His arrest was a shocker to the university.

     "I was watching television is saw this occur on video and then lo and behold there was a young man with an etbu t-shirt on and needless to say shocked is a good word" said etbu president Dr. Bob Riley.

     Burt and the others were allegedly soliciting children on-line for sex, not knowing that a cyber crimes officer was posing as a 13 year old girl on-line, and being very specific about what they wanted.

    "Sexually explicit they're telling what they want to do and what they want done" said  Jones.

   But some feel being a victim is no excuse.

   "Here is a man 34 years old you'd think that he'd reached an age where he could hold himself accountable for his behavior" says Riley.

   "Kids are learning that there are real life monsters out there" Jones says.

    Burt now faces a possible 20 years in prison if convicted. Bob Hallmark reporting.

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