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Jury Convicts Pro Rock Climber of Sexually Abusing Woman in Yosemite
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By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 months ago on
February 13, 2024

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Federal jury in Sacramento convicts Charles Barrett, 39, on three sexual abuse counts.

Published reports state that professional rock climber previously served time in prison.

Federal investigators look for more potential victims.


A federal jury in Sacramento found professional rock climber Charles Barrett, 39, guilty Tuesday on two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact in Yosemite National Park.

U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced the verdict in a news release.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the victim went to Yosemite for a weekend of hiking in August 2016, and Barrett, who was working and living in the park, sexually assaulted her three times.

Three Other Women Testify Against Barrett

During the trial, three other women testified that Barrett also sexually assaulted them. These assaults were not charged because they were outside federal jurisdiction but were admitted at trial as relevant to the charged assaults, prosecutors said.

“This defendant used his renown and physical presence as a rock climber to lure and intimidate victims who were part of the rock-climbing community. His violent sexual assaults were devastating to the victims, whom he later threatened in the lead-up to trial.” — U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert

“This defendant used his renown and physical presence as a rock climber to lure and intimidate victims who were part of the rock-climbing community. His violent sexual assaults were devastating to the victims, whom he later threatened in the lead-up to trial,” Talbert said.

“Today, the defendant has been held accountable for his crimes. My office will continue its work to make National Parks such as Yosemite a safe place for all.”

The case is the product of an investigation by the National Park Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael G. Tierney and Arin C. Heinz are the prosecutors.

U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez is scheduled to sentence Barrett on May 21. Barrett faces a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine. His sentence, however, will be determined by the court after considering statutory factors and Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Barrett’s History of Trouble

The rock climber previously served prison time in Kern County following a 2005 federal indictment charging Barrett with five felonies. Among them: witness retaliation and intimidating and interfering with federal officers.

“Records show that during a 14-year period starting in 2008, at least nine criminal protective orders or restraining orders were obtained against Barrett by four women who all said they feared for their lives,” Outside Magazine reported last month.

Anyone with information related to this case or if you believe you may be a victim of Barrett’s, submit a tip online, call 888-653-0009, or email nps_isb@nps.gov.

 

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Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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