Charles R. Burge, 35, faces one count each of first-degree statutory rape, sexual exploitation of a minor, enticement of a child and endangering the welfare of a child. A nationwide search eventually traced the pornographic images known as the “Lexie” series to a Kansas City residence where authorities last week found Burge and the girl depicted in the photos.
Burge has been charged as a predatory sex offender, which carries a mandatory life sentence. He is currently being held on $500,000 cash-only bond.
The investigation began with a request to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from a foreign law enforcement agency, according to Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd. Court documents show investigators with the Department of Homeland Security in Boston began attempting to identify the victim in March.
The “Lexie” series consists of approximately 140 images which chronicle approximately four years of abuse. The images had been altered using Photoshop or a similar program to hide details in the images that might reveal the perpetrator’s identity or location.
After an extensive Homeland Security investigation, authorities were able to identify the victim in the photos as a girl living in Platte County.
Law enforcement authorities ultimately served a search warrant at a Kansas City residence in Platte County on Oct. 3. Inside the home, investigators also found numerous items that matched backgrounds in the “Lexie” series.
Burge’s address as listed in court records is in a residential neighborhood off of Northwest 64th Street in southern Platte County. The search warrant was served at that home, which Burge shared with his longtime girlfriend.
The victim is the daughter of Burge’s girlfriend.
The state’s complaint against Burge alleges he was convicted of rape in Arkansas in 1996. He is currently on probation in Platte County for failing to register as a sex offender.
The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Western Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force continue to work on the case. Assistant prosecuting attorneys Chris Seufert and Blake Sherer are in charge of the prosecution.
Burge was arraigned on the charges Oct. 6 and next appears in court on Oct. 14 for a preliminary hearing.