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Sentencing Scheduled Today for Santee Firearms Trainer Charged with Molestation

Tony Lee Burleson, 44, pleaded guilty last month to three sexual assault felonies and a misdemeanor sexual battery count and agreed to a sentence of two years and eight months in state prison.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Sentencing is scheduled today for a Santee firearms trainer and self-described security expert who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the molestation of four teenage boys, including one who is related to him.

Tony Lee Burleson, 44, pleaded guilty last month to three sexual assault felonies and a misdemeanor sexual battery count and agreed to a sentence of two years and eight months in state prison.

Burleson was originally charged last May with four child-molestation counts stemming from sex crimes that occurred over the previous two years.

The defendant -- who ran Burleson Academy, a firearms-instruction center on East Douglas Avenue in El Cajon -- also was suspected of impersonating a peace officer on at least one occasion, according to San Diego police.

Burleson disappeared in late May and was at large for 36 hours after learning that he was the subject of an arrest warrant in the molestation case, said Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.

On May 28, San Diego police found the defendant asleep in his bright- yellow Hummer SUV in a parking lot near a church day-care center on Santo Road in Tierrasanta, according to sheriff's Lt. James Bolwerk.

Authorities had been looking for Burleson since May 24, when a person came forward, alleging that Burleson sexually assaulted him in the 1980s. Charges could not be filed in connection with those allegations because the statute of limitations had run out.

Detectives subsequently identified four other child-molestation victims and those boys -- ages 15 through 17 -- are the victims in the criminal case against Burleson, according to Bright.

—City News Service

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