Saturday, June 14, 2003

Molester evaded trial for 5 years

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - A man remained jailed on child molestation charges Friday after his first court appearance since avoiding trial on similar charges five years ago because the judge thought he was dying of cancer.

David Burkhammer Sr., 56, of Columbus, pleaded innocent in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to three counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of kidnapping.

Common Pleas Judge John Bessey had put Burkhammer's trial on charges of sex abuse on hold in March 1998. The trial has been opened again and will begin July 7.

Burkhammer had served about a year of a life prison sentence before being granted a new trial, which he won after blurting out in court that he had molested children. He also served about two years of a four-year sentence in the 1980s for gross sexual imposition.

Bessey said he "thought he (Burkhammer) was going to die," when he decided to let him go.

Burkhammer has said that he was told he had cancer but ended up with a colon problem.

His case went unnoticed until he was arrested twice in May.

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