Police: Assault Led To Child Rape Arrest
TOWANDA — Police are revealing more about what led them to arrest a man who faces more than 5,000 counts in connection to rape, child sex abuse and drugs.
The investigation into Donald Burrell, 55, of Towanda began last spring after he was a victim of a violent crime.
Burrell is locked up on $2.2 million bail, facing more than 5,000 felony counts, including rape and rape of a child under 13.
Police in Towanda said Burrell sexually abused a woman over a 20-year span, from 1991 to 2012, beginning when the victim was seven years old.
Here’s an exact break down of all the counts Burrell faces, including additional counts for drug charges:
- 2,870 counts related to rape
- 2,248 counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
- 28 drug counts
- 16 counts of child pornography
Burrell’s former neighbors are disgusted.
“It’s sickening, I never knew someone like that lived so close to me until I heard it this morning,” said Megan Cook.
Another twist is how police began this investigation; it started when Burrell himself was a victim of a violent crime.
In May 2013, officers went to Burrell’s apartment on Maple Street after he had been brutally attacked by another man.
Inside the home, police found evidence believed to show drug activity.
“And then doing interviews with the drug information something was mention about other forms of abuse so that spins off into a separate investigation for the abuse allegations,” said Det. Al Ogden with the Towanda Police Department.
Burrell’s attacker, Blake Dieffenbach, is now serving time for the assault in a state facility.
But police say it was that assault that eventually led detectives to Burrell’s alleged victim and to the filing of all those counts.
“It’s a pretty interesting turn of events to be a victim in one and turn around be accused of two others,” said Det. Ogden. “One thing you learn if you do this type of work long enough is just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s something different.”
Burrell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in district court in Towanda on January 31 at 9:30 a.m.