Neighbors Horrified By Rape Allegations

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TOWANDA -- A community in Bradford County is reacting after learning that a resident faces thousands of counts of rape.

The abuse involves a woman who says it went on for 20 years, starting when she was 7 years old.

Donald Burrell of Towanda is the man accused of rape and sexual abuse of a child.

According to court papers, Burrell used a calendar to keep a tally of how many times he abused his victim.

Burrell, 55, of Towanda is locked up in Bradford County. His bail set at $2 million.  he faces more than 5,000 charges including rape and sexual abuse of a child.

Burrell lived in an apartment house on Maple Street in Towanda. Neighbors say they were shocked when they heard about the sheer number of charges.

“I haven't heard of that many in a while, so I was surprised. They're going to get him on something. He's not going to get out of all of them, I don't think,” said neighbor Steven Miller.

There was no answer when we knocked on the door at Apartment 1. According to court papers, that's where Burrell was living at the time of his arrest.

Burrell's residence is just feet from the St. Agnes School.

"He's going to get in a lot more trouble than normal because he was in a school zone, but I don't know," Miller said.

Court papers say the investigation into Burrell started in May of 2013 when Burrell was beaten up inside his apartment while selling the drug bath salts.

People in Towanda tell Newswatch 16 he was a known drug dealer.

"I guess the way he was making his money was off bath salts,” said Michael Cook. "That's the best way to put him is calling him an idiot. Well, there's a lot worse you can call him."

"We'll see how the outcome goes when he goes to trial. I might have to go watch it, see how it turns out," Miller added.

In addition to the rape and other sex charges, Burrell is also charged in connection with his alleged drug dealing. He is expected to be back in Bradford County court on January 31 for a preliminary hearing.


  • Bradford County resident

    Remember people drugs just like guns are not the problem it’s the people that are the problem right? When guns and drugs are used responsibly nobody gets hurt. On a serious not this guy had been brought up in charges before but the case was dropped. Not sure why maybe we could get a bit of investigative journalism here?

    • Sundown

      Wow, they almost had him before and he slithered out of the law? Because charges were dropped? What were the charges I wonder? True that, investigative journalism here would be grand! Action 16 Investigates should get right on this one!

  • Sundown

    So sorry to hear this…truly…we have a friend near up there, would love to see them get outta there then!
    They’ll figure it out, ‘cos it’s getting bad! They just have to start somewhere, shut it down man! It’s gotta start with the buyers..bust ’em..get them to tell where the stuff is at..and so on, it’s the only way…

    • Sundown

      There’s nothing worse than a sleazy druggie than an old sleazy druggie Why wouldn’t neighbors want something done? Or even do something themselves? Were they aware there were victims involved?

  • e

    Another reason why crimes like this are allowed to continue for so long in this area is because in situations like this the neighbors don’t want to contact the authorities because it would draw attention to them and the laws they themselves are breaking. This is an area of incredibly nosy people, whose lives revolve entirely around gossip. I refuse to believe this situation could continue for so long without any neighbors being aware. It is easier to turn a blind eye to abuse instead of helping and then spout some rhetorical nonsense about how people should mind their own business or quote the bible about how everyone is flawed.

  • Sundown

    “Court papers say the investigation into Burrell started in May of 2013 when Burrell was beaten up inside his apartment while selling the drug bath salts.
    People in Towanda tell Newswatch 16 he was a known drug dealer.”
    Stupid question time: Why does it take 8 months to take down a KNOWN drug dealing? If it’s about a search warrant, or setting up a fake buyer, 8 months seems an awful long time..Are the courts and judges that backlogged? There is only 2,000 people there! I know small towns only get a coupla cops, but the minute there is suspicious activity like drug dealing, somebody gotta move on that asap..Lately the cities are safer than the small towns!
    A town such as these can be imagined as maybe 4 square blocks in a densely populated city like New York for example, you call you local precinct, which covers that neighborhood, you report the activity, and there’s a bust within weeks, not months.
    “Features of the rural culture that affect law enforcement operations include informal social control among citizens, a mistrust of government, and a reluctance to share internal problems. These characteristics may result, for example, in failure to report a crime out of the belief that it’s a private matter.” “The nature of rural interactions means that crimes such as homicide, rape, and assault are more likely to occur among acquaintances than is true in urban areas.” So much for being able to trust your neighbors and friends! The criticism I receive for not being a trusting person because I lived in a city in the past is now officially null and void. I am usually right about my instincts anyway at the end of the day. If you are suspicious of someone in your neighborhoods, or if the y seem “off,” and “odd,” and there are people coming and going like there’s some kind of “clearance sale” going on; report it! IF someone you know is behaving oddly or suspiciously let them know you’re aware something is “off,” cut yourself off from them; it could save a life, maybe yours!
    Ignorance is not proving to be bliss after all. There is nothing new or innocent under the sun.

    • Amanda S.

      The problem with Towanda and the surrounding areas, hell, even the whole of Bradford County, is that it has been deemed “Meth Valley.” There are so many of these low-life pieces of scum selling this stuff that police don’t even know where to begin.

      • Sundown

        You are right, in one county they are actually cutting the salaries and positions of some law enforcement even in the face of increased crime, someone is getting greased instead. Disgusting! Oh and I forgot that e answered me n b’s question earlier! my bad!

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