Crime

Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Rape in Glacier National Park

Eduardo Luis Diaz, who worked seasonally in the park in 2020, assaulted an ‘incapacitated’ woman after night of drinking in employee housing

By Andy Viano
Views from Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road on July 13, 2020. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

A seasonal employee working for a private company in Glacier National Park has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in which he admits to sexually assaulting an intoxicated and incapacitated woman in an employee dormitory near Lake McDonald last summer.

Eduardo Luis Diaz, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse in front of Judge Donald Molloy in U.S. District Court in Missoula on Wednesday. According to court documents, the plea agreement he and prosecutors reached on Feb. 10 calls for a second charge of aggravated sexual abuse to be dropped. Diaz was released following the hearing and will return for sentencing on June 24.

According to an offer of proof submitted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalah Paisley, a group of employees were drinking in a dorm near Lake McDonald on July 2 when, at some point, the victim became highly intoxicated and was taken down the hall to a bed by Diaz and two female friends. All three then left the room.

The two women returned to the party and thought Diaz went back to his own room, but instead Diaz re-entered the room where the victim was in bed, moved her to the bathroom and assaulted her while she was “incapacitated.” A short while later, another man entered the room and noticed a light coming from under the bathroom door. After a brief encounter with Diaz and the victim, the man went for help and made Diaz leave the room.

A National Park Service ranger interviewed Diaz one week after the incident, at which time Diaz acknowledged the victim was “pretty drunk” and proceeded to admit to the assault. According to the ranger, Diaz said, “I’m not trying to deny anything, I know it goes worse if I deny it, for all intents and purposes I did it, and I feel bad that I did it.”

While Diaz and the victim were both living and working within the boundaries of Glacier Park during the summer, neither one was employed by the park. Several private concessionaires operate in Glacier Park and hire a number of seasonal workers each year.

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