Community Reacts to Centralia Rapists Arrest
CENTRALIA - Community members and the Centralia Police Chief were still reeling Thursday about the arrests of 43-year-old Billy and 25-year-old Joseph Burton.
Centralia police arrested he father and son on Sunday. The Burtons confessed to years of rape, dating back to 1999. The alleged victims were nine and thirteen years old at the time. Preliminary charges include child molestation and displaying a deadly weapon while committing statutory rape and sodomy.
"It's all ugly... it's all ugly..." Centralia Police Chief Larry Dudgeon said.
Dudgeon said the Missouri Division of Family Services' detailed report he got on Friday led to the arrests.
Dudgeon was choked up trying to express what an outstanding job family services did with the case.
"They did a lot of quality work, that absent that, we would not be having this conversation today." He said the Burtons, "will be charged with the types of crimes that no one wants to talk about."
Centralia resident Theresa Greene lives just around the corner from the Burtons, although she didn't know them personally.
As the mother of a ten-year-old son, Green said,"It was sort of invisible to me, that type of crime. I had no idea that that was going on here. My reaction was relief... that the police department was trying to get these people off the streets."
Greene isn't the only one relieved to hear the Burtons are behind bars.
"I'm very appalled. I know... I know these actions are out there, I don't believe in them. I think it's a sick and depraved mind. It's mostly a control issue and I'm glad to hear they're off the street," Centralia resident Robert Dailing said.
Centralia Police say the crimes originally started in Centralia, but rapes also occurred in Audrain and Randolph County. Randolph County is prosecuting the alleged rapists, and the investigation is ongoing.
"These types of cases are nothing to brag about. It's the ugly side of what we do," Dudgeon said.
The judge has held the Burtons on $1,000 bond each. A counsel status hearing is scheduled for Monday, July 18th.