Robert Eugene Burns makes his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Robert Eugene Burns makes his first appearance in Clallam County Superior Court in Port Angeles on Tuesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Bail set in child rape, molestation allegations against Mount Vernon man

PORT ANGELES — Bail was set at $25,000 Tuesday for a Mount Vernon man who allegedly raped and molested a Clallam County girl when she was between the ages of 8 and 12.

Robert Eugene Burns, 50, was arrested Saturday for investigation of first- and second-degree child rape, first- and second-degree child molestation and voyeurism for alleged crimes he committed during extended stays at the girl’s Joyce-area home.

Burns, who was described in court papers as a family friend known to the girl as “Uncle Rob,” was handcuffed after a Clallam County Sheriff’s Office sting operation at a SeaTac hotel.

Sheriff’s Deputy Joshua Ley arranged a meeting between Burns and the alleged victim’s biological mother at the hotel, where Burns was confronted about the alleged crimes, according to court documents.

He told the girl in a recorded phone conversation that he was “sorry” and “wished he could go back and take it all back,” Ley wrote in a 27-page arrest narrative.

Sheriff’s investigators monitored the hotel room and Burns’ phone conversations after obtaining a search warrant and communication intercept orders.

Burns was questioned for nearly two hours after the sting.

“He maintained that this was all just allegations,” Ley wrote in the affidavit for probable cause.

“He would not commit to a denial, yet he maintained that [the alleged victim] was an honest person to his knowledge.”

After conducting interviews with the alleged victim, her family, friends, school counselors and others, Ley developed probable cause that Burns raped the girl when she between 9 and 12, molested her when she was between 8 and 12 and recorded her getting out of the shower when she was 12.

Michele Devlin, Clallam County chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney, requested a $100,000 bail for Burns at his initial court appearance.

She based her request on a community safety risk and the seriousness of the allegations.

“The allegations in this case are particularly heinous,” Devlin said.

Devlin noted that Burns was accused of “grooming an innocent child” by allowing her to play kids’ games on his phone.

“He initially starts out slow with molesting her, and then the allegations progress,” Devlin said, listing specific acts of sexual abuse.

“We also have allegations that when this child exited her shower, she found his phone on record while she was exiting her shower into her bedroom.

“In a wired call with Mr. Burns, the indication is that he tells her: ‘It is not you, it’s on me. Been thinking and praying about it.’

“All he could do was say he was sorry, wished he could go back and take it all back,” Devlin added.

Burns, who appeared in court wearing a red T-shirt and blue jeans, said he planned to hire his own attorney.

“I’m not understanding the bond,” Burns said of the requested bail.

“I don’t have that kind of money. I don’t know why it’s so high.”

Burns had two prior driving under the influence convictions and no warrant history.

Coughenour imposed a $25,000 bail for Burns and signed orders preventing him from having contact with the alleged victim or anyone younger than 18.

Coughenour denied Devlin’s request that Burns be required to wear an electronic home monitoring device with a GPS locator as a condition of his release.

Should he post bail, Burns would be required to reside in Mount Vernon and attend court hearings in Clallam County.

The alleged victim, now 13, disclosed the alleged sexual abuse to a school counselor Nov. 21.

She was interviewed at the Healthy Families of Clallam County Child Advocacy Center on Nov. 21 and Dec. 4.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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