UMaine coach faces sexual contact charge

Posted May 11, 2009, at 7:52 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — The associate head coach of the University of Maine men’s basketball team was charged late Sunday with unlawful sexual contact against a 21-year-old woman, and assault against another woman who stopped to help her, Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing said Monday.

The coach resigned on Monday, according to a university spokesman.

Mike Burden, 36, reportedly had unlawful sexual contact with a 21-year-old soccer player and assaulted a 20-year-old UMaine student who came to her aid early Sunday morning, Capt. Ewing said. Burden was issued two tickets around 11 p.m. Sunday to appear in court to face the charges.

UMaine Athletic Director Blake James placed Burden on paid administrative leave on Sunday morning, Joe Carr, university spokesman, said Monday.

During a 3 p.m. meeting between Burden and James, Burden resigned, Carr said.

University rules require athletes to notify their coaches whenever they have interactions with law enforcement, and the victim “called her coach and he called Blake James,” Ewing said.

The 21-year-old female victim reported to police that she left the 103 Ultra Lounge just before the nightclub closed at 2 a.m. and was walking down Park Street when she noticed that she did not have her cell phone. Thinking she had dropped it while taking a shortcut behind an apartment building, she started looking for the phone in that area when a man she identified as Burden approached her.

“He offered to help her and began making advances, which led to the charges of unlawful sexual contact,” Ewing said. While the assault was happening, “one of her friends walked by and she yelled to the friend” who came over to assist the crying woman.

“While standing with the two girls, he starts pawing at [the second woman] and she pushes him away,” Ewing said.

The two women, who both recognized Burden, left together and reported the assault at 3:19 a.m. after the two got to one of their apartments.

Police also had dealt with Burden earlier on Sunday, when the driver of a car he was in was arrested for drunken driving, Ewing said.

Shanna Corson of Lewiston was arrested on Park Street for driving under the influence at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday and taken to Penobscot County Jail in Bangor. Burden was her passenger. After Corson was arrested, police wanted to tow the vehicle and had to wake up Burden “who was passed out in the front seat” and who slept through the incident, Ewing said.

Burden, who served as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team for four years, was named associate head coach this year, according to the university’s Web site.

“Burden assists in all aspects of the Black Bear program, including recruiting and video analysis,” the Web site states. “He is also instrumental in on-court day-to-day operations of the Black Bears.”

Ted Woodward, head coach of the UMaine men’s basketball team, and James have not addressed the issue related to the structure of the coaching staff moving forward since Burden’s resignation just occurred and team members have dispersed for the summer, according to Carr.

Burden will face the two charges against him on July 16 in 3rd District Court in Bangor.

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