The former Chief of Police of Mt. Airy, Georgia, together with his wife, will get 25 weekends in jail. Upon hearing that, some might cheer. After all, it’s not often a cop gets jail, and 25 weekends is nothing to sneeze at, right? But maybe not this time.
Richard Scott Burton, the former police chief of the tiny northeast Georgia town of Mt. Airy, was staring down 31 felonies — two counts of aggravated child molestation, one of child molestation and 28 of first-degree cruelty to children.
His wife, Cheryl, was looking at the same, minus the molestation. The possibility of decades in prison loomed over the couple, accused of abusing and neglecting their four adopted children for years.
Within the “pantheon” of crimes, molesting children has long been considered the one that is most disgusting, most intolerable. And in this instance, unbearable, as it smacks of “buying” kids, via adoption, to be abused. If ever there was a crime worthy of utter revulsion, Burton committed it.
Suddenly, 25 weekends in jail doesn’t seem so severe. During jury selection, a deal was cut, with Burton and wife to plead to one count of second-degree cruelty to children. The reason was the defendants’ witness list.
That prosecutor, Habersham County Chief Assistant District Attorney Eddie Staples, confirmed as much.
Staples said a number of people who were called to testify on the Burtons’ behalf were “law enforcement people,” folks that he tells juries are trustworthy on a daily basis.
These “law enforcement people” who were to be called on behalf of the defendants, presumably as character witnesses of some sort unless they also witnesses the sexual molestation of Burton’s adopted children and planned to testify that they didn’t see a problem with it, are the same people the prosecution uses regularly. They can’t be lying scum in this trial and truthful, brave, honorable cops otherwise.