A 29-year-old Ohio man has allegedly spent the last decade going around trying to touch women’s bellybuttons, and prosecutors say that he should be shipped off to the slammer for violating his parole.
On Wednesday, Graig Burrier of Stow, Ohio, pleaded guilty to violating his parole. In 2012, he was arrested and put on parole for his absurd habit, pleading guilty to a sexual battery charge. Summit County Prosecutor Brad Gessner said that “since [Burrier’s arrest] he has violated his probation numerous times,” WNEP reports.
The young man’s bellybutton fascination has given rise to scores of excuses that he offers women in order to satiate his desire for their mid-regions. In 2012, he told a woman that he was trying to get into a fraternity and that he was tasked with touching her bellybutton. Gessner said earlier this year that Burrier lingered on a bike trail hoping to get a poke at a passing bellybutton.
After the latest incident, the woman complained to police, which led to a bizarre police report that reads like a discarded passage from “50 Shades of Grey”: “He proceeded to get on a knee and used his index finger, pressing it, and circling his finger around the navel,” and “She stated it lasted for approximately a minute or so. After a few seconds, she asked him how much longer he would need and he stated, thirty more seconds.”
Burrier is banned from visiting parks by himself and is not allowed on the campuses of the University of Akron or Kent State University where he has allegedly hung around, hoping to get his fingers on an undergraduate navel.
His attorney insists that Burrier has autism, but prosecutors say that’s not the case. Gessner stated, “He has a history of some developmental issues. He was in some special education classes, but he does not meet any of the diagnosis of the criteria to be classified as autistic.”
The debate over whether Burrier is autistic continues to be hotly contested as the suspect’s attorney says that he needs treatment rather than prison. Another prosecutor told WJW, “This was not an impulsive behavior; it was deliberate. This is not the type of behavior someone with autism typically exhibits.”
Part of the problem is the broad spectrum of autism. Those suffering from the disorder can be geniuses while others will go through life unable to function by themselves.
In 2011, Burrier was charged with rape and received a suspended four-year prison sentence that ended in 2016.
But, his history of touching bellybuttons extends much further, the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Between 2007 and 2010, there were allegedly multiple incidents where he tried to touch women’s bellybuttons.
His lawyer is pushing for Burrier to be admitted to a treatment center in Minnesota. The judge said that if he is accepted into that program, she will consider it as an alternative to prison. The defense attorney also claims that treatment would also be beneficial for the community as it might help address the systemic issues at the heart of Burrier’s bellybutton fascination and allow him to re-enter society.