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Bismarck man charged with sexual assault, buying alcohol for minor

Bismarck man charged with sexual assault, buying alcohol for minor

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John Burnette

John Burnette

A Bismarck man who is a registered sex offender is accused of buying alcohol for a teenage girl, having sex with her when she was sleeping or passed out, and taking lewd photos of her, according to police.

John Burnette III, 42, faces four felony charges: gross sexual imposition, promoting a sexual performance by a minor, possessing prohibited materials and failing to register as a sex offender. The most serious accusation -- committing a sexual act against someone who is unaware -- carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.

Burnette also faces a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Prosecutors have asked a judge to prohibit Burnette from having contact with the girl. Court documents do not list an attorney for him.

The alleged acts took place between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday at an East Rosser Avenue residence, according to police Lt. Luke Gardiner.

Police found evidence on Burnette's phone that he had bought alcohol for the girl, and they found alcohol in the residence, according to an affidavit. The girl told police she drank at Burnette's residence, fell asleep and awoke to being assaulted. Officers found lewd photos of the girl on Burnette's phone, along with evidence he had shared the photos with his brother, the affidavit alleged.

Burnette is required to register as a sex offender due to a felony gross sexual imposition conviction in 2010. Court documents show he was sentenced to serve five years in prison in that case, in which the maximum punishment was life behind bars. He pleaded guilty in both 2015 and 2016 to failing to register as a sex offender.

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