ST. GEORGE – An Arizona man who kept a 17-year-old Utah girl as his “pet” in mid-2017 has been charged in Utah with human trafficking and aggravated kidnapping.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed the two first-degree changes in 5th District Court Monday against 38-year-old Raymond Burk, of Phoenix. He stands accused of taking a 17-year-old girl from St. George to Phoenix where he beat and sexually assaulted her until she managed to escape a week after her abduction.
According to charging documents, the 17-year-old girl communicated over a social media application that she was “depressed and wanted someone to pick her up.”
Someone who identified himself be a 20-year-old man named “Carter” contacted the girl. They communicated several times and made plans.
“Carter” told the girl that he would “take away her depression and she would be happy with him.” He also said he had a home in Leeds and would have her home in two days after they met. The girl initially lied about being 18 and later told the man she was 17, to which he replied, “Oh, even better.”
Burk arrived at the home where the girl was staying and took her to a bank to withdraw some money before getting on the road. When the girl realized they had been on the road longer than it takes to get to Leeds, she asked Burk where they were going there.
“I lied. I live in Phoenix,” Burk said according court documents. When asked if they’d still be back in two days, Burk allegedly told the girl he was going to keep her as his “pet” indefinitely.
Burk kept the girl against her will in Phoenix over the next week. During this time he sexually assaulted her several times, according to the charging documents, as well as beat her when she said she wanted to go home. She was also made to have sex with Burk’s drug supplier so he could get marijuana.
“Burk told (the girl) she was ‘his little pet’ and ‘was keeping her forever,’” the charging documents state.
The girl was finally able to escape used one of Burk’s friend’s phone to post messages to social media.
“Burk learned police were coming and attempted to transport Child Victim again to a different residence,” the charging documents state. “But (she) saw police and was able to report what happened and escape.”
Charges have been filed against Burk in Maricopa County, Arizona, related to the girl’s abduction, according to the charging documents.
Burk is currently being held in an Arizona jail, according to the Associated Press. Records don’t list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office is coordinating Burk’s prosecution with Arizona authorities.
First-degree felony-level charges, which Burk faces, have potential terms of five years to life in prison if convicted.
Suspected incidents and tips related to human trafficking can be reported to the Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force tip at 801-200-3443.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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