Well-Known Rock Climber 'Lured' Victims to Yosemite: Prosecutors

Charles Barrett sentenced in sexual assault case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2024 2:00 AM CST
Updated Jun 5, 2024 2:48 AM CDT
Well-Known Rock Climber Convicted of Yosemite Sex Assault
Stock photo of Yosemite.   (Getty Images / Tanarch)
UPDATE Jun 5, 2024 2:48 AM CDT

A professional rock climber accused of luring victims to California's Yosemite National Park and sexually assaulting them has been sentenced to life in prison. Charles Barrett, 40, was convicted of assaulting just one woman, but other women testified at his trial about similar allegations. On Tuesday, he was sentenced for the 2016 incident, in which he sexually assaulted the victim three times, NBC News reports. "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," says a prosecutor in a statement. A defense attorney says an appeal is planned.

Feb 14, 2024 2:00 AM CST

A professional rock climber well-known in California used his status to lure victims to Yosemite, where he sexually assaulted them, federal prosecutors said during his trial. Charles Barrett was on Tuesday convicted of sexually assaulting one woman, but three other women who testified at his trial say he assaulted them as well, NBC News reports. Barrett lived and worked in Yosemite, and prosecutors say the victim messaged him asking for hiking recommendations before she visited the national park for a weekend in August 2016. She ultimately met up with him there, and he sexually assaulted her three times before she escaped and drove home.

"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," a prosecutor said. Barrett faces up to life behind bars when he is sentenced May 21, KFSN reports. He has vowed to appeal his conviction. For more reading, Outside Online offers a lengthy profile of Barrett and his troubling history with women, and asks the question, "How did this climber get away with so much for so long?" (More Yosemite National Park stories.)

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