Yosemite National Park. Credit: Dave Herring on Unsplash

SACRAMENTO, California – 40-year-old professional rock climber Charles Barrett was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact.

According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California, the charges are related to the 2016 sexual assault of a woman that occurred in Yosemite National Park.

Barrett’s long history of sexual violence supports the imposition of a life sentence. He used his status as a prominent climber to assault women in the rock-climbing community, and when his victims began to tell, Barrett responded by lashing out publicly with threats and intimidation. This case is a testament to the courage of the victims who reported these crimes.” – U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert

Court documents and evidence presented at the trial showed that Barrett lived and worked for a private business inside the park in 2016 when the victim visited Yosemite for a weekend of hiking. Barrett reportedly sexually assaulted the woman three times, and three other women came forward during the trial to testify that he had sexually assaulted them as well.

Court documents showed that, in 2017, Barrett purposefully climbed at a gym attended by one of the women who testified at the trial, seven years after he assaulted her. After she disclosed Barrett’s assault to the gym owner in an effort to protect other woman, Barrett harassed and threatened her for several years. He was convicted for making criminal threats in August of 2022.

We are grateful for the tireless work of the National Park Service investigative team and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this case to justice. Today’s sentencing sends a clear message about the consequences of this criminal behavior. It makes Yosemite a safer place for the climbing community, park visitors and our employees.” – Yosemite National Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon

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