Flathead County Woman Receives Deferred Sentence for Group Home Assault

Flathead Industries employee sexually assaulted client who is developmentally disabled

By Justin Franz

A 47-year-old woman received a three-year deferred sentence three months after she admitted to having sex with a man who is developmentally disabled and living at the Kalispell group home where she worked.

Judge Robert B. Allison delivered the sentence to Elaine Marie Cooper at a Jan. 4 hearing in Flathead County District Court.

According to court documents, a 29-year-old man who is developmentally disabled and living at Flathead Industries’ group home went to the Kalispell Police Department in April 2016 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 2016, 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 occurred at Flathead Industries’ group home.

Cooper initially pleaded not guilty in June to a felony count of sexual intercourse without consent, but last year she agreed to plead guilty to an amended charge of felony criminal endangerment.

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