James Burke, the former Suffolk County chief of police who went to federal prison in a corruption scandal, is back in the bad-news headlines again.
On Tuesday morning, the Suffolk County Park Rangers Targeted Response Unit arrested Mr. Burke in the county’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park in Farmingville on a grab bag of sexual misconduct charges.
A county spokeswoman said Mr. Burke was arrested at 10:15 a.m. on charges that include offering a sex act, public lewdness, indecent exposure and criminal solicitation, “with additional potential charges pending.”
In Suffolk County, Mr. Burke’s name is synonymous with municipal corruption of the more raunchy variety. He was arrested in 2015 for beating up a handcuffed man suspected of stealing a duffel bag belonging to Mr. Burke that contained a gun belt, ammunition, pornography and other items not suited to be printed in a community newspaper. He was also accused of orchestrating a cover-up of the assault.
It was a remarkable fall for an official who was the county’s highest-ranking uniformed officer for four years. In 2016 he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 46 months in prison. Former District Attorney Thomas Spota and his top aide, Christopher McPartland, were later convicted on a range of cover-up related charges in connection with the federal investigation of Mr. Burke.
Attorneys for the families of the victims of the Gilgo Beach serial killer have also accused Mr. Burke of intentionally botching any serious investigation into the murders during his tenure as the county’s chief of police.