Lemoore navy sailor arrested for sexually assaulting woman at China Peak ski resort

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An active-duty sailor based at Lemoore Naval Air Station is facing a charge of rape after allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at China Peak Mountain Resort last month.

Authorities say 39-year-old John Burton gained illegal access to the victim's room and took advantage of her.

"Burton had become aware of a woman who was staying in a motel room by herself, and he was able to sneak into her room without her permission and basically took advantage of her sexually," says Fresno County Sheriff's Office PIO Tony Botti.

Some employees at China Peak became aware of the crime and stepped in to help by calling security.

Manager Tim Cohee says that person, who has worked with him for over two decades, pushed the door in and held Burton down until deputies arrived.

"He is an absolute pro and responded in minutes and was able to get law enforcement on-site to keep this from getting any worse," Cohee said.

In a statement to Action News, the Naval Air Station said:

"We can confirm that Petty Officer First Class John Burton is stationed at NAS Lemoore. We take this allegation very seriously. The Navy is and will continue to fully cooperate with local authorities, who have investigative lead. The Sailor is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

Cohee says he is proud of his workers did not turn a blind eye during their shift.

"I would put our security team, specifically our security, up against anybody," Cohee said.

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says they were instrumental in helping not only the victim but also the case.

"It really put us in a position to succeed and investigate this the right way, and we were able to take Burton into custody right there and book him into jail that night," Botti said.

Investigators believe there may be more victims and are asking anyone with information about Burton to contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.
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