More than 30K raised for abducted student

Money for medical bills and new laptop given to student, who won't return to school

The Gunn High School community has donated $30,200 to the family of the student who was abducted and abused in October, Gunn Principal Noreen Likins said today.

"This has really helped the family with medical bills," she said.

An anonymous donor has also given a new laptop, she said.

The student has chosen not to return to school and will complete graduation requirements from home, she said. In mid-November, Likins told the Oracle campus newspaper that she doubted the student would return to school.

"Often in situations like this, people don't want to go back to the environment they were in," Likins explained.

Teachers e-mail her assignments and visit her at home, services for which they don't receive extra compensation, Likins said.

The student was attacked near the garage area of the apartment complex where she lives with her parents on Arastradero Road on the afternoon of Oct. 30.

Her assailant slammed her head into the pavement at least twice and then forced her into a car, drove to an unknown location and sexually assaulted her, police said.

She escaped from the car in Sunnyvale and was rescued by a passing motorist, police said.

A suspect identified as Todd David Burpee, a 2006 graduate of Palo Alto High School, was arrested on Nov. 1 in San Jose and later confessed.

He is being held without bail at Santa Clara County Main Jail in San Jose.


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Posted by Chris
a resident of another community
on Dec 18, 2007 at 1:57 pm

I find it encouraging that so many people in the community have rallied behind the young woman who was the victim of such an evil crime. I hope she can put this awful experience behind her.

As for Todd Burpee, who already made a confession to the Palo Alto police, I have only this to say: I hope you spend a long time in prison for your sick, evil actions. Whatever prior hardships you went through in life does not excuse what you did. You got caught surfing online porn by your girlfriend and you chose to respond by viciously assaulting an innocent teenager. You chose to be evil on that day. And hopefully the jury will choose to punish you for your actions so that you'll never be in a position to harm anyone ever again.

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Posted by Peter
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm

um, Burpee won't be going away for life, if very long at all.

attempted murder, sexual assault, grand theft, embezzlement. he'll be looking at 20 years, max, and that's if the prosecution keeps thing tight. so, he'll be back on the street in ten to fifteen years. in short, the whole Republican 'lock him up and throw away the key' routine is just not going to work, here.

about the only thing we can be pretty sure of is that he will get out and he will re-offend. statistically-speaking, it's as close to a sure thing as you can get. given the brutality of our prison system, which only serves to punish and dehumanize people, not rehabilitate them, i wouldn't want to be anywhere near the dude when he gets out.

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Posted by jane
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2007 at 5:32 pm

I just hope he pleads guilty to save this girl the trauma of testifying
and the community the trauma of revisiting this matter.

If he ever gets out then hopefully we will have by that time a solid way of tracking sex offenders 24/7 and chemicals means of curbing their behavior.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2007 at 7:25 pm

I am very pleased to see the generosity offered to the student and her family and well done to the community for opening up in this situation.

I hope that not only is the $30k + given to the student, but also advice on how to use it. This money could either be a really good start to a promising future, or a lucky windfall that disappears in no time. Apart from the medical and possible legal costs, she needs to save the greater part for her future and I trust that she gets some good advice on how to do this.

It is only in this way that some good can come from the whole horrible experience.

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Posted by in my thoughts
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 18, 2007 at 7:41 pm

Money can't possibly restore what was lost in this young girl...but I hope it helps remind her about the good in most of us, and of our prayers ( or whatever you want to call them) for her during her harder moments. I can't imagine how hard it will be on her to recover any sense of trust or faith, but I hope this helps a little.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 18, 2007 at 10:01 pm

In addition to the maximum jail sentence..wish there was some way Burpee could be tracked for life and also be given therapy for life....he should never again, be as free as the rest of us...he forfeited that privilege by his intentional cruel, cowardly, & sadistic act...but he needs to find a better way to manage feelings of anger/resentment/powerlessness/futility/frustration in order for society to be safer.

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