A California businessman will avoid jail altogether after accepting a plea agreement for the rape of a girl who is now 7 years old.
Lyle Burgess was sentenced Wednesday by San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Ron Northup to 90 days in an alternative-work program or in-home detention plus five years of informal probation after pleading no contest to statutory rape, reported The Record.
The 79-year-old Burgess, who founded the automotive parts manufacturer Rare Parts Inc. in 1981, will likely opt for in-home detention due to his frail physical and mental health, his attorney said.
“My client maintains his innocence,” said defense attorney Gregory Davenpott. “I believe the allegations are motivated by greed. They are using this instance to try to gain financially.”
The victim’s parents said they were unsatisfied by the sentence, which does not require Burgess to register as a sex offender.
“Our daughter has been harmed by this man continuously,” the victim’s mother told the court.
She witnessed two incidents between Burgess and her daughter, then 5, at his cabin in cabin in Calaveras County in the fall 2016. “I’m incredibly disgusted by his behavior and continuously disgusted by his lies.”
The father, who has known Burgess for more than two decades, said the abuse had scarred his daughter.
“I don’t have too many prized possessions in this world other than my family,” he said. “She will remember this the rest of her life. She sleeps on the floor outside our room.”
The judge told the parents that their victim impact statements had a “limited” impact on the sentencing, which she said they had agreed was fair when it was agreed upon during the plea negotiations.
The girl and her family have sued Burgess seeking unspecified damages for sexual abuse and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Burgess was initially arrested Nov. 23, 2016, and charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child Under 14.