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Van Driver Charged With Assaulting 11-Year-Old Girl

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[NOTE: On Jan. 6, Polk County authorities announced all charges against Paul L. Burritt had been dropped after the purported victim admitted to investigators that she had made a false allegation.]

BALSAM LAKE, Wis. (WCCO) — A 60-year-old van driver was charged with sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in Polk County, Wis.

According to the charges, Paul L. Burritt, of Turtle Lake, was driving the girl in a Handi-Lift Transportation van when he took her back to his home and sexually assaulted her in the driveway.

The girl told police Burritt was supposed to pick her up from Impact Counseling in Hayward and then bring her home in Birchwood. She said this was the first time Burritt was her driver and the first time that she met him.

She said she knew he was driving a different way but was afraid to say anything.

When Burritt brought the girl to his home, she said he let his six dogs out before opening the van door and sexually assaulting her. She told police he began unzipping his pants but she kicked him in the chest and slammed the van door on his hand.

She said she tried to reach for Burritt’s cell phone but he grabbed her wrist and punched her twice on her left knee.

The girl said Burritt told her he “really wanted her.”

At that point, she said Burritt became angry and closed the door and let his dogs back in the house. He then got back into the van and began driving — and at one point, she said she saw he was going 70 mph.

She said Burritt then dropped her off on the road by her house and made her walk home. She said she normally gets home between 5 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., but on that day she got home between 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Burritt was arrested on Dec. 7. He denied having sexual contact with the girl and told police he dropped her off in her driveway, not in the road. He said he never brought her to his house and only made a wrong turn while driving her home.

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