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Ex Duluth school bus driver gets 15 years for sex assaults

A former Duluth school bus driver was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a preteen girl he was driving home from school in 2006 and to the sexual assault of another preteen girl in an unrelated case.

Michael Wayne Burk, 34, entered the guilty pleas before Judge Mark Munger in St. Louis County District Court in May.

According to the criminal complaint, Burk told police that he sexually assaulted the girl while she was asleep in her seat on the school bus on or about Oct. 1, 2006. He said she didn't say anything when she woke up, but he later learned that she told her parents. Last December, a police investigator interviewed the girl and her mother at First Witness Child Abuse Resource Center. The girl provided a description of the defendant and related what he allegedly did to her. She said she was able to run away from him.

In December, a spokesman for Voyageur Bus Co. said Burk had not worked for the company for about 2½ years.

The alleged incident came to light when Duluth police officers were interviewing Burk in connection with another sexual assault.

Munger sentenced Burk to 180 months in prison for the sexual assault on the bus. Burk received a 144-month sentence for the second sexual assault in which the defendant pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a preteen girl. The two sentences will be served at the same time. The defendant will also have to report to a probation officer for 10 years after being released from prison. He was given credit for the 304 days he has already served behind bars since being arrested.

According to the second criminal complaint, Burk admitted to a police officer that he had been viewing child pornography for about 10 years. He also admitted to sexually abusing the girl at various times over a period of a year between 2006 and 2007.

Burk has been living in Duluth for about 10 years. He grew up in Michigan and also has lived in Texas. He has two adopted children who are in foster care.