Ex-UMaine coach pleads not guilty to assault

Posted July 16, 2009, at 8:32 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The former associate head coach of the University of Maine men’s basketball team pleaded not guilty Thursday in 3rd District Court to two counts of assault and one count of unlawful sexual touching in an alleged incident involving two UM coeds.

Michael Burden, 36, of Goldsboro, N.J., did not appear in court.

His attorney, Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor, entered the plea on his behalf. Silverstein said Thursday that he would request a jury trial on his client’s behalf.

“My client denies assaulting either woman,” the attorney said, “and denies any kind of sexual contact.”

Silverstein said that Burden has returned to his home state and is considering his career options while awaiting the outcome of the case.

Burden resigned two days after he allegedly assaulted two female UMaine students, a 21-year-old soccer player and a 20-year-old woman, in the early hours of Sunday, May 10.

Graduation ceremonies at the university were held on Saturday, May 9.

The 21-year-old woman told police that she left the 103 Ultra Lounge on Park Street just before the nightclub closed at 2 a.m. and was walking down Park Street when she realized she did not have her cell phone. The woman told police that she thought she had dropped it while taking a shortcut behind an apartment, so she retraced her steps.

While looking for the phone, a man the woman said she recognized as Burden approached her, according to Orono police Capt. Josh Ewing.

“He offered to help her and began making advances, which led to the charges of unlawful sexual contact,” Ewing said the day after the alleged incident took place. While the alleged 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 in May.

The two reported the alleged incident to police at 3:19 a.m. after they returned to one of the women’s apartments.

Orono police had dealt with Burden earlier that Sunday when the driver of a car in which he was a passenger was arrested for drunken driving, according to Ewing.

Shanna Corson, 30, of Lewiston was arrested about 1:30 a.m. Sunday on Park Street for operating under the influence of intoxicants. 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, according to Ewing.

Corson was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in 3rd District Court in Bangor. Information about her plea was not available.

If convicted, Burden faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000 on each count.

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