Professional rock climber sentenced for sexual assaults in Yosemite National Park

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A professional rock climber was sentenced on Tuesday for a series of sexual assaults in Yosemite National Park, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Charles Barrett, 40, was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact that occurred during a single weekend.

Court documents and evidence presented at trial state that in August 2016, the female victim went to Yosemite for a weekend of hiking; Barrett, who was living and working for a private business in the park, sexually assaulted her three times.

Charles Barrett booking photo

During the trial, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert says three other women also testified that Barrett sexually assaulted them. These assaults were not charged because they were outside federal jurisdiction but were admitted at trial as relevant to the case.

According to court documents, in 2017, seven years after he assaulted one of the victims who testified at trial, Barrett purposely climbed at a rock-climbing gym where the victim attended. She then disclosed Barrett’s assault on her to the gym owner in the interest of protecting other women at the gym. Barrett responded by harassing and threatening her for several years. In August 2022, he was convicted for criminal threats he made in January 2022.

While in custody, prosecutors say Barrett made hundreds of phone calls. On these calls, prosecutors say he showed no remorse or regret; he instead threatened to use violence and vindictive lawsuits against the victims, claiming that they designed a conspiracy to ruin his life.

“Barrett’s long history of sexual violence supports the imposition of a life sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert. “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.”

Talbert added that the case is a testament to the courage of the victims who reported the crimes.

author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.