Jury finds Port Royal man not guilty

MIFFLINTOWN – A Port Royal man was found not guilty of rape of a child and other related charges following a jury trial in the Juniata County Court of Common Pleas.

Following the verdict in which Brady Burdge, 40, was acquitted on nine separate counts relating to the alleged sexual abuse of a child, he turned to his attorney, Nevin Zimmerman, and hugged him before then embracing his family and supporters who stood by his side.

Zimmerman did not offer any comments following the verdict.

Juniata County District Attorney Cory Snook said in a case like this, there really are no winners.

“I knew from the beginning it would be a difficult case. The whole situation is tragic, for everyone involved. Hopefully now at least there is some closure,” Snook said.

Burdge’s charges arose from allegations brought forth by a now-18-year-old woman who claimed the defendant abused her over the course of 10 years.

Throughout the course of the trial, Zimmerman called several witnesses, including the alleged victim’s own mother, who testified the her daughter was not trustworthy.

Burdge also took the stand during the trial and immediately began to choke up as Zimmerman asked him questions.

“I want to ask you right now, are any of those allegations true?” Zimmerman said.

“No,” Burdge replied.

The alleged victim also took the stand and testified she was sexually abused for a number of years by Burdge.

She also claimed Burdge sent her a lewd text message, which she in turn showed to a friend, Ashley Milliken. Milliken testified she saw the text message and told her friend to report it to the authorities or another adult.

The alleged victim also testified she did not want to continue with the prosecution of Burdge, which was brought up Zimmerman on several occasions. The alleged victim was subpoenaed by the district attorney to appear in court and testify.

Several other people testified the alleged victim had been trying to stop the prosecution of the case almost immediately after the charges were filed in April 2012.

During closing arguments, Zimmerman painted the alleged victim as a liar who regretted reporting the alleged abuse, which is why she tried to stop the prosecution of the case.

Snook asked the jury to use their common sense and life experiences when deliberating.

“Not wanting to testify or proceed with the prosecution, does not mean this didn’t happen,” Snook said.

Snook went on to state the alleged victim never recanted her story and consistently maintained she was sexually abused by Burdge.