Flathead County Woman Accused of Assault Pleads Guilty

Flathead Industries group home employee admits to sexually assaulting disabled client

By Justin Franz

A 47-year-old woman pleaded guilty to felony criminal endangerment three months after she was accused of having sex with a disabled man at the group home where she worked.

Elaine Marie Cooper appeared at a change-of-plea hearing in Flathead County District Court on Sept. 22.

According to court documents, a 29-year-old resident of a Flathead Industries group home went to the Kalispell Police Department in April to report that Cooper had sexually assaulted him.

Flathead Industries is a nonprofit that provides housing and services for people with disabilities. According to court documents, Cooper had a “supervisory” role over the victim.

The victim told police that starting in January, Cooper performed sexual acts on him and had him do the same to her. According to court documents, Cooper told the victim “she received sexual gratification from their encounters.” Deputy County Attorney John Donovan wrote that all of the encounters happened at Flathead Industries’ group home.

Cooper initially pleaded not guilty in June to a felony count of sexual intercourse without consent, but earlier this month she accepted a deal where she would plead guilty to an amended charge of felony criminal endangerment.

Prosecutors are expected to recommend a three-year deferred sentence. She will be sentenced on Nov. 23.

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