On July 26, 2018, Samuel T. Burris of Beaverton was sentenced to 150 months in prison by Judge Janelle Wipper for two incidents where he publicly masturbated at Dollar Tree stores in front of children under 10 years old. Burris, a registered sex offender, will not be eligible for early release.

Burris approached two young sisters in the candy aisle of the Dollar Tree in Aloha on October 11, 2017. He grabbed both girls on their buttocks and then exposed himself. The victims ran to tell their mother, who managed to take a picture of Burris as he was leaving the store. Law enforcement used the photo to identify Burris and connect him to a previous incident that fit the same pattern of behavior: on September 7, 2017, Burris had exposed himself to two young sisters at a Dollar Tree store on Cornell Rd in NW Portland, but was able to flee before police were called. After he was arrested investigators searched his phone and found a picture he had taken of the buttocks of yet another young girl.

Trial began on June 12, 2018, and lasted for more than three days. Burris claimed the case was one of mistaken identity, but jurors unanimously convicted him of all counts after hearing testimony from the young victims and viewing the photos for themselves. At sentencing prosecutor Allison Brown of the DA's Office Child Abuse Team discussed the predatory nature of Burris' behavior in explaining the danger he poses to the community. Ultimately Judge Wipper chose to impose consecutive sentences on the most serious charges, citing the age of victims and Burris' history among the factors that influenced her decision.

Burris' convictions include two counts of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, two counts of Public Indecency, and four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Minor. This case is another reminder that child sex abuse occurs at a time and place of the abuser's choosing, frequently when there are no other witnesses and physical evidence can be hidden or destroyed. Oregon law recognizes that often the only evidence of abuse is the testimony of the victim. Persons wishing to report child sex abuse are encouraged to contact any law enforcement agency, the Department of Human Services child abuse reporting hotline at 503-681-6917, or to simply call 911.


August 02, 2018