Speaking Up For Dave Burgess

September 22, 2009

All Posts, News

Dear Rebel,

Ok-so-how did they get the nudes of the 14 year old girl onto (Dave Burgess’) computer? You lost me here….

White Devil

Dear White Devil,

Okay, let me give this one more shot. I know you and I probably disagree on this but we should at least try to reason together, none the less. And, I apologize if this runs long. I will try to give you the briefest answer I can.

The question should not be “how did they (meaning the feds) get the nudes of the 14 year old girl onto his computer?” I am sure you didn’t mean to ask that. Because the answer is somebody copied them. They were not on a computer. They were on a backup drive. Which, even if you think Burgess is absolutely guilty and the cops never cheat, raises the question: “Backed up from where?”

The prosecution asserted that there were something like 65,000 images of child pornography on Burgess’ two backup drives. Something like 13 or 14 images of a girl he knew were entered into evidence against him. The government argued that it chose those images because they provided a bullet proof link between Burgess and the girl. I think that is kind of pat right there but at the same time the government itself raises the question of linkage.

In the first story I wrote on this case I wondered who these children were and where they came from. And one way (there are several ways) you investigate that is with something called “metadata.” Depending on the file being examined, and the software you use to uncover metadata, the metadata can tell you almost the entire history of that file – starting with where, when and who created it and who modified that file ever after that.

(Right now, if you are running Windows, open Windows Explorer, pick any file on your computer, right click the file and left click properties. What you see is the most basic of metadata. You can find that just using a really crappy operating system. Software exists that can use metadata to trace a photo back to the “plug and play” camera that took the picture.)

As far as I know Burgess’ attorney never looked at the metadata for all of those 65,000 images. I would have, and I would have looked for incongruities. Files that were modified after the file was out of Burgess’ possession, for example, but not limited to that. I would have surveyed the metadata to see where this crap came from because where it all came from remains a mystery. It doesn’t seem to have come from any computer Burgess owned or to which he had access. Burgess has said that the incriminating and vulgar captions on some of the photos were generated with a kind of software he never owned or used.

About eight months ago I called Burgess’ former attorney and one of the questions I wanted to ask him was “Do you know what metadata means.” Never got the chance to ask him that.

The government did have some metadata on the photos, files, it entered into evidence. But look, it is much easier to manufacture phony metadata on 13 files than on 65,000.

As to how the incriminating photos came to be – how could there be partially nude photos of a girl Dave Burgess knew if he did not take them? I think that is what you are asking. Somebody had to take those picture, right?

Well no. Actually, nobody had to take them. And the most obvious answer to that possible mystery is called Photoshop. If you know what Photoshop is. The captions were generated with Photoshop. Right now, somewhere in cyberspace is a photo of Laura Bush giving Dick Cheney a blow job but it still does not prove that she actually did that. Photographic evidence is no longer photographic evidence, okay? If you know what I mean?

Look, I know you think Burgess is a pedophile. What I am trying to say to you is that the evidence is really not as strong as it might seem to be. And obviously, incontrovertibly, a huge, expensive, sophisticated effort was made by the Alberto Gonzalez Department of Justice to “get Dave Burgess.” It was the effort that went into getting him that is most suspicious to me.

Let me just warn you that you do not know what is on your computer right this minute. There are areas on your hard drive called “slack space” that your operating system cannot see. Just for one real obvious example. But if there is something there and your computer is seized EnCase will find it during the evidence preservation phase of the search.

Worse, starting after September 11, 2001 the Bush Administration persuaded virtually all hardware and software manufacturers to engineer features into their products that allow anybody with a certain security clearance to access, surveil and manipulate the data on your computer. Not just Dave Burgess’ computer. Your computer.

All due respect to good federal cops everywhere. Near the end of the Bush Administration there were certain elements of the Department of Justice that were much more interested in making cases than in doing the right thing. Okay? Can we agree on that? Motorcycle clubs and their members are targets. Mosques are off limits for civil right reasons but it is open season on bikers. Okay? Have you noticed this, too?

Burgess was a squeaky wheel. Many authorities did not like him. I do not have and never will have a smoking gun. But I think there is a ton of circumstantial evidence that Burgess was framed. I think, given enough time, I could prove method, opportunity and motive for the framing of Dave Burgess.

But what happened instead was the government used circumstantial evidence to prove method, motive and opportunity that Burgess was obsessed with child pornography. Near the end of the trial, the prosecutor got Burgess’ estranged wife on the stand. She testified that she had known Burgess for decades and she just didn’t think the crime of which he was accused was something he would do. Then the prosecutor, said something like, “But you don’t know what he does and thinks when he is all alone in his room, do you?”

In a nutshell, that was the government’s case.

And, I think the same logic can be used against the government. I might not be able to prove that the Department of Justice framed Dave Burgess. But I certainly cannot prove that they did not.

“In Germany, they first came for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Catholic. Then they came for me-and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.”

Stay in touch.  I will try to be more succinct next time.

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17 Responses to “Speaking Up For Dave Burgess”

  1. NamelessinSeattle Says:

    You make my day.

  2. pervert Says:


    Very though provoking to say the least.
    I have lived in Evanston, Wyo for 20 years. Local Yocals, County Mounties and WHP are not the sharpest knives in the drawer. Someone alerted these folks that Dave was passing through and what to look for and get a superficial bust and a cause for a warrant. The County Prosecuter is a family friend and we grew up in the same town, 120 miles north of Evanston. I’m going to find time to have a couple of beers with him and see what he will tell me.


  3. troyez Says:

    Why did the gov’t want Dave so badly?
    Something that hasn’t come to (my) mind until I read this article was the Old Bridge Ranch itself. Maybe certain politicians had made clandestine (so they thought) visits to the Ranch, and were worried about some kind of record/evidence of their indiscretions hitting the evening news. Wouldn’t it be prudent to discredit/smear the name of the owner of said Ranch? Just a theory.
    Just my 2 cents on the matter; I gotta go, I need to go re-line my aluminum foil fedora, the gamma rays are getting to me!

  4. Not Surprised Says:

    Nicely done Reb. Since the 14 year old figures in so prominently, here is a valid question:

    14 is legally underage, true. However it is fairly beyond the age most pedophiles are attracted to simply because the greater risk of “judgement”. It may not be difficult to keep a 9-10-11-or 12 year old silent or wahtever. See my point?

    The man owned a whorehouse. That means very attractive females. Adult females. Females who are in the industry. Now why would he be attracted to a teenager? Teenagers are not quite adults, but they are no longer children.

    In my state a 14 year old can be tried in Superior Court as an adult. Get my point?

    Plan fact here, Rebel: 14 is old enough to consent. Maybe not legal consent. A pedophile takes ZERO enjoyment from consensual acts.

    Let me make a distinction. The DSM III which is the Bible of diagnostics for mental health professionals backs up what I am saying.

    So. Apparently there were some candid photos of a 14 year old female. In an earliuer article you mentioned “sexting”. Recently in NJ, a 13 year old female was criminally charged for sending candid pohotos of herself to an adult. You heard it right.

    Dave Burgess is an expert photographer. Maybe he took those photos, maybe he did not. I have no way of knowing for sure.

    During the 1970’s when the Courts were attempting to define “obscenity”, one very famous quote from a Judge said:

    “I cannot define obscenity, but I know it when I see it”.

    In some democratic European countries, 14 is considered old enough to be a legal sex trade worker. Legal. Registered, even.

    In no way am I condoning sexual explotation of 14 year olds.

    When I was in college, numerous underage female friends of mine (not yet 18) made some fairly good side money posing nude for art classes. They did not have the legal right to do so.

    Another factor about “underage” and consent is the variance in age. If there is two years difference, then the older can be charged. So, what this means is that if two 14 year olds engage in sex, there is no crime. Nada. Why?

    The element of “exploitation” is absent. This clearly indicates that it is not illegal for two same age minors to engage in sex. This presents a double standard. 14 is cool as long as you engage with someone under the age of 16. 14 allows for enough maturity to give consent. The only exclusions are a disability clause or if it falls under incest, or if force or coercion exists.

    So 14 year old females can have all the consensual sex they desire, can consent to being photgraphed, etc. as long as the other party is not over 16.

    Just some thoughts to consider, Rebel, nothing else.

  5. Rebel Says:

    Dear Pervert,

    The traffic stop was game planned. Wyoming Troopers knew Burgess was coming. Picked him up when he crossed the state line. Surveilled him while he ate breakfast. Dispatched the drug sniffing dog before the traffic stop. Then tossed the motor home looking for “intelligence” for the federales. The affidavit for the warrant was written by the guy with the shadiest affidavit writing history in the state. The computer and drives were taken to what is, in fact, a federal office. Technically it is a “joint” state-federal office but really, it is a federal office.

    I think the local cops were cooperating with the feds. I think, probably, the FBI was behind everything. Maybe it was ATF. I think the stop was designed to “gather intelligence.” I think the frame was a crime of opportunity.

    your pal,

  6. Rebel Says:

    Dear Not Surprised,

    I do not know much about the psychology of pedophiles. But, I am interested in how obscenity laws have morphed into child porn laws and become an enforcement opportunity for police in the last 35 years.

    In 1975, most of the American intelligentsia spoke glowingly of a book called “Show Me,” which was, basically, a coffee table book of child porn. The New York Times loved it. The Village Voice. All the arbiters of good and bad said this was a great book.

    St. Martin’s Press, the publisher of Show Me, entered into a long battle in Federal Court over whether the book could be banned under New York State obscenity laws.

    In the middle of that fight, Judge Ellsworth A. Van Graaffeiland wrote that New York had no legitimate concern with obscene pictures of children taken “years before” in a “foreign country.” His comments probably reflected the live and let live attitude toward obscenity, including child porn, in this country at the time.

    The book was everywhere well into the mid-80s. I once picked up a copy in the old Either-Or Bookstore in Hermosa Beach and literally dropped it because I thought it was toxic. It was the only book that has ever had that effect on me. But lots of important people sang the praises of that book and somewhere, out in the world, there may still be a copy of that book with my fingerprints on it. And, under current child porn laws, that would be enough to convict me.

    The legal theory behind child porn prosecutions is that people who view those images are accessories after the fact to a crime. Off the top of my head, I think the first computer child porn arrest came in Los Angeles in 1994. If child porn prosecutions were just about getting child predators I wouldn’t care about the issue at all. I really think child molestation should be a capital crime.

    My problem with these prosecutions is how they are being used. They provide a legal pretext for searching anybody’s computer. The sentences are always very harsh. There are prosecutors who specialize in the crime. It is almost always a slam dunk conviction because the specialist prosecutors and the police “computer forensics technicians” are always way better at proving this crime than defense attorneys are at casting doubt on it.

    And, verifiably people do get framed for this crime. About three years ago a guy in Chicago named Maurice Vallejo downloaded child pornography to his boss’ computer because the boss refused his sexual advances. Then Vallejo called the police. The police were only too eager to come make the easy arrest.


  7. Not Surprised Says:

    Great post, Rebel. D H Lawrence’s “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was self published in Italy by Lawrence, an estimated 2,000 copies.

    In 1941, a small publisher, “Dial Press” published a toned down version called “the second lady chatterley”. Everyone in New York rushed to buy a copy. Only 1400 copies were printed when the Police raided the offices od Dial, arresting everyone. 400 copies were siezed, leaving only 1000 in existence.

    Dial lost the case and the publisher avoided jail time.

    1957 The Grove Press published virtually the same manuscript, only on a larger scale. At trial, the work was deemd not obscene in the US. It was on the NY Ti,es best seller list for two years.

    1960, Penguin Publishers in England secretly printed 1,000,000 copies of the book in paperback. The publishers then mailed a copy to every law enforcement agency they could think of. It was the trial of the century at The Old Bailey. Again, the book prevailed. The day after being found not guilty, Penguin put the books in stores and all copies sold out in less than 48 hours.

    Today, it is taught as a classic work in many high schools.

    Sadly, Lawrence died thinking his masterpiece had brought him ruin.

  8. sled tramp Says:

    Off track a little but sometimes the flip side of the coin is also interesting.Just noticed this……I ain’t even gonna make a comment…

    Animal-cruelty charges dropped against Burlington County cop
    Philadelphia Daily News

    [email protected] 856-779-3231

    If animals could talk, a few cows in Burlington County might ask state legislators to hurry up and outlaw bestiality.

    During a bizarre hearing there yesterday, a Superior Court judge dismissed animal-cruelty charges against a Moorestown police officer accused of sticking his penis into the mouths of five calves in rural Southampton in 2006, claiming a grand jury couldn’t infer whether the cows had been “tormented” or “puzzled” by the situation or even irritated that they’d been duped out of a meal.

    “If the cow had the cognitive ability to form thought and speak, would it say, ‘Where’s the milk? I’m not getting any milk,’ ” Judge James J. Morley asked.

    Children, Morley said, seemed “comforted” when given pacifiers, but there’s no way to know what bovine minds thought of Robert Melia Jr. substituting his member for a cow’s teat.

    “They [children] enjoy the act of suckling,” the judge said. “Cows may be of a different disposition.”

    Burlington County Assistant County Prosecutor Kevin Morgan was certainly irritated by the ruling, claiming the grand jury didn’t see the videos of the alleged incident, including one in which one hungry calf allegedly head-butts Melia in the stomach.

    “I think any reasonable juror could infer that a man’s penis in the mouth of a calf is torment,” Morgan argued. “It’s a crime against nature.”

    Although a bill was introduced in 2005 to ban bestiality, New Jersey still has no explicit ban on the sexual penetration of animals, which is why the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office charged Melia with animal cruelty.

    Morley said it was questionable whether Melia’s alleged crimes against cows, although “disgusting,” fit the definitions in the animal-cruelty statute.

    “I’m not saying it’s OK,” Morley said. “This is a legal question for me. It’s not a questions of morals. It’s not a question of hygiene. It’s not a question of how people should conduct themselves.”

    Sex with cows is the least of Melia’s problems, though.

    He and former girlfriend, Heather Lewis, of Pemberton Township, are also accused of sexually assaulting three young girls over a five-year period, sometimes in Melia’s Cottage Avenue home in Moorestown, where he was a patrolman, authorities said.

    Melia has been suspended from the force, said a spokesman with the Prosecutor’s Office.

    Melia and Lewis were both arrested in April 2008, shortly after one of the girls told her stepfather of the alleged abuse.

    During the course of the investigation, authorities also discovered child pornography on Melia’s home computer as well as videos of him with the cows.

    Morley also ruled yesterday that the prosecution must turn over copies of images and videos from the computer to the defense, including one video that allegedly shows one of the girls being “subjected to sexual activity.”

    Lewis, who also appeared in court yesterday, is also accused of sexually assaulting a juvenile male. Morley denied a defense motion to have Lewis’s individual sexual assaults separated from Melia’s case.

    Melia, Lewis and their attorneys declined to comment after the hearing.

    Morgan, the prosecutor, said in court that the owner of the cows was “very upset” by the incident.
    According to Judge James J. Morley, cows cannot speak (which was an especially astute observation from a man charged with upholding the laws of our society), and so the calf could not consent or protest.


  9. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sled Tramp,

    I know Burlington…. I know Bristol…. Okay, I am speechless.


  10. WhiteDevil Says:

    Rumor has it that this cop goes by the nickname of “Tiny”.

  11. WhiteDevil Says:

    Rumor has it that this cop goes by the nickname “Tiny”.

  12. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    Oh, boy…am I glad I didn’t eat before I read this.

    (It wouldn’t be bestiality if he’d done it with pigs–same species.)

    YYZ Skinhead

  13. BigBagel Says:

    Officer, leave the moocows alone.

  14. Gringo1%er Says:

    fuck! i do believe i got an STD from reading that shit!

  15. Snow Says:

    That is some sick shit……..

  16. Ann Says:

    That is common in females with genital herpes, and
    managing hormonal changes is unlikely.

  17. Shasiti Says:

    I have known David most of my life. First time I met him I was 18. oh and by the way you can work in a brothel at 18. But you can not drink until u r 21. some fucked up laws in all of our states. The girls that worked for David were beautiful. I was awestruck the first time I went there with My boyfriend, who was a guitar player in the band that night. David asked me and another gorgeous blonde into his office for a cocktail, we were overwelmed. He was so nice to us but never tried to talk us into working for him. We would have been top bookers back then. Young and beautiful blondes only 18 years old. David was wove into my life for the next 10 years u see I liked rockers and they liked me. I was 28 when David began pursuing me heavily, I knew Ingrid had left him for rock and rollers and in my 28th year he landed me. He was not my type I loved guys with long hair and guitar straps. But that all changed the first night I chose to see what he was all about! Let’s just say it was a rough and bumpy ride for the next several years but it was magical too. That is why I get so pissed when I read these posts. He had some of the most beautiful girls at his disposal, believe me, he could wait until they were of age. He was framed I have known him all of my life. I am 55 now and still stay in touch with him. I lived with him and loved him still to this day,I think I would have noticed if he was banging 14 yr olds in our bed or any were else. Reno is a small town in that manner! So please becareful what you say about someone you have never met!!!!

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