Wilmington man to spend up to 24 years behind bars for statutory rape

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – A 21-year-old man will spend between 16 and 24 years behind bars for statutory rape.

Joseph Bursell pled guilty yesterday afternoon to statutory rape involving a victim more than six years younger than him and indecent liberties with a child. A judge sentenced Bursell to 192 – 291 months in the Department of Correction.  He must also register as a sex offender.

An investigation by the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office revealed that the victim, who had recently turned 13, met the defendant, age 20 at the time, at Jellybeans skating rink. The victim’s mother discovered that she snuck out of the house to meet the defendant and the defendant raped her.

Detectives were able to locate the victim and the defendant at the bus station where they indicated that they intended to leave town.

Categories: Local, New Hanover