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'I Hope You're Haunted By My Limp Body:' Cleveland Serial Rapist Who Pretended To Be Uber Driver Sentenced
The judge called Christian Burks "cunning" and "ruthless" when she sentenced him to 41 to 44 and a half years in prison.
A serial rapist who sometimes pretended to be an Uber driver to lure in his victims has been sentenced for his crimes.
Christian Burks, 26, was accused of kidnapping and raping five women between October 2017 and December 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio, as previously announced by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 41-44 and a half years in prison for a multitude of charges to which he had pleaded guilty to on March 9.
Burks pleaded guilty to five counts of rape, four counts of kidnapping, two counts of abduction, one count of domestic violence, and one count of theft. As part of the plea deal, charges of gross sexual imposition and misuse of a credit card were taken off the table.
At the hearing, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Joan Synenberg referred to Burks as a “cunning” and “ruthless” man who sometimes pretended to be a ride-share driver for unsuspecting women waiting to be driven home, according to Cleveland.com.
“There is not one thing that the victims did where they bear responsibility for what happened to them,” said Synenberg. “I hope they can free themselves of any space you occupy in their heads.”
The prosecutor’s office had previously provided an initial timeline of Burks’ crimes, beginning with the Dec. 9, 2018 rape of a 20-year-old victim who attended a party with her friends at an East 4th Street residence. After lying down in a separate room in the apartment, Burks made his way into the room and proceeded to sexually assault her, despite several attempts by her to stop him.
Then, on May 24, 2020, a man and woman, both 23, entered Burks’ vehicle outside a bar on West 6th Street — a popular, short strip of bars in downtown Cleveland — believing he was their Uber driver. Burks made a stop at a gas station and, when the man went in to buy water, Burks sped away with the female passenger.
Burks later dropped the woman off at her residence and stole her credit cards, “which he used to make several purchases,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
Days later, Burks engaged in an altercation with a 24-year-old woman he forced into his vehicle. When she yelled for help and tried to escape while on the interstate, Burks grabbed her by the neck, dragged her back into the vehicle, and sped away.
That woman left the courtroom in tears as other witnesses spoke at Tuesday's sentencing, according to Cleveland.com.
“I never would have thought my life would have gotten here,” said the woman. “I was tricked into believing someone was what they weren’t.”
On Nov. 15, 2020, Burks sexually assaulted a 21-year-old woman multiple times in his vehicle after she became separated from a group of friends at a bar near West 6th Street.
Less than a month later, Burks sexually assaulted another woman who was waiting for an Uber outside a West 6th Street bar. After raping the woman in his vehicle, he took her to an East Cleveland hotel and fled before police arrived.
“Christian Burks is a serial sexual predator,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley following Burks’ 2021 indictment. “He will be held accountable for his actions.”
Not listed in the prosecutor’s original press release was another attack dating back to Oct. 22, 2017 for which he was also sentenced announcement. In that case, Burks raped a 21-year-old victim after pretending to be her Uber driver as she waited outside a bar.
In court, Burks told the judge that he was intoxicated and barely remembered attacking the women, as reported by Cleveland.com.
Some of the women addressed him in court during sentencing.
“I hope you’re haunted by my limp body lying in the backseat of your car. I hope you never live another day without the soul-crushing weight of me on your mind,” said one of the victims. “I am not weak. I am not defenseless. I am not an object for you to use at your disposal. I will not be haunted by the thought of you.”
Another one of the victims who mistook Burks for an Uber driver also addressed him.
“But I can stand up here and tell you today that the world is a less safe and more dangerous place for all of these young women when this man is allowed freedom," she said.
As part of his sentencing, Burks must also register as a tier three sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.