The recent resignation of former University of Maine men’s basketball associate head coach Mike Burden following a weekend arrest has prompted a Lincoln woman to accuse UMaine officials of ignoring her warning about him months ago.
Stacy Emery, who identifies herself as a former girlfriend of Burden’s, says in various postings on the BDN Web site story about Burden that she wrote a detailed letter to UMaine President Robert Kennedy last February warning university officials “about Mike and that he may do something like this in the future” and that “he had serious ‘issues’ he needed help with in order to remain a coach.”
The former Black Bears assistant coach, who resigned his position Monday, was charged with unlawful sexual contact with a 21-year-old woman and assault against another woman, 20, who came to her aid, late Sunday night.
Emery, a former UMaine graduate student who says she had a four-year relationship with the 36-year-old Burden, says UMaine officials owe the two women an apology at the very least.
UMaine spokesman Joe Carr confirmed the university received a letter and issued a statement regarding it.
“Several months ago, we received a written communication from a person not affiliated with UMaine. The writer, who asked for her identity to be kept confidential, alleged inappropriate conduct by coach Burden in his activities away from the university.
“She did not describe any inappropriate or illegal conduct involving students or other university community members. In keeping with standard personnel management practices, coach Burden’s supervisor discussed these allegations with him, without identifying the source.”
When asked if any disciplinary or other action was taken with Burden following that discussion, Carr said that would constitute a “personal management activity” which he was not at liberty to discuss.
Carr also said he was not aware of any other reports of misconduct by Burden and that the university routinely does background checks on candidates for (coaching) positions of that nature.
Emery also alleges the background check could not have been completed correctly.
“There were ‘cover-ups’ or simply ignored incidences while he was an active UMO coach and again, my letter was ignored,” Emery wrote on the site’s reader comments section.
According to a Lincoln district court clerk, Emery was issued a temporary protection order against Burden on Feb. 20, but it was dismissed March 17 after she failed to appear before the court.
In last weekend’s incident, a 21-year-old female reported to police that she left 103 Ultra Lounge just before the Orono nightclub closed at 2 a.m. and was walking down Park Street when she noticed she didn’t have her cell phone. She began looking for the phone in the area of a shortcut she took behind an apartment building when a man she identified as Burden approached her.
According to Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing, Burden offered to help her and began making advances, which led to the charges of unlawful sexual contact. While the alleged assault was occurring, one of her friends walked by. The 21-year-old woman yelled for help and the friend came over to assist, police said. The friend told police she pushed Burden away after he started “pawing” at her. Both women reported the assault at 3:19 a.m. Monday.
Burden, who was in his fifth season — first as associate head coach — this year, was inducted into the Rowan University Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. The Bridgeton, N.J., native graduated from Rowan in 1995. He was an All-New Jersey Athletic Conference pick in 1993 and 1994.
Prior to Maine, he was an assistant coach at Florida International University for one year and recruiting coordinator for Cornell for three years. He was also an assistant at Delaware State, Lafayette, and Rowan.
Emery had not responded to requests via e-mail for an interview at press time.
Attempts to reach Burden for comment were unsuccessful.