for immediate release
July 17, 2004

N E W S   R E L E A S E

A Mary Esther man has been arrested on three counts of Sexual Battery on Children under the age of 12. Robert "Eric" Burkes age 39 (3-17-1965), of 601 Drakes Landing, Mary Esther, was arrested last evening (Friday evening).

The three known victims were boys, ages four to nine, who lived near Burkes four years ago.

One of the boys came forward last month, telling his mother of events that happened with Burkes during the year 2000. Burkes is alleged to have befriended young boys by taking them to ice hockey games, the Zoo, and elsewhere; giving them toys, clothes, and candy; and playing games, including hide-and-seek. Eventually, the games involved sexual activity. Burkes is alleged to have told the boys the Bible said such activity is OK. He is also alleged to have told the victims "bad people" would come after them and kill their parents if they were to tell about the activity.

Anybody with knowledge of additional victims or other information in relation to this case should contact Investigator Ralph Garrett at the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office by calling (850) 651-7400.


for more information contact Sgt. Rick Hord., Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420