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Police officer avoids rape charge, is sentenced to parole

November 19, 2021 GMT

NEW ORLEANS, La. (AP) — A New Orleans police officer who lost his job after being accused of raping a woman pleaded guilty to a reduced charge this week and was placed on probation.

Ben Burford, 32, was charged with third-degree rape but pleaded guilty instead to indecent behavior with a juvenile older than 13 as part of a deal with prosecutors in the Jefferson Parish district attorney’s office, according to The New Orleans Advocate.

The third-degree rape charge can carry a 25 year prison sentence while the indecent behavior charge can carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. The victim in the case was a 20-year-old woman at the time Burford was accused of raping her, according to the Advocate.

Judge Stephen Grefer of the 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna sentenced him to four years’ probation and 15 years of registering as a sex offender.

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The woman who accused the officer of rape told The Advocate she approved of the plea deal because it was the only way she could ensure disciplinary action for Burford without her having to go through enduring a public trial.

“I would have loved to see him go to jail,” she told The Advocate. “But I did what I could so that he couldn’t do this to someone else.”

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault.