Crime

Illinois Man Sentenced to Prison for Glacier Park Sexual Assault

Eduardo Luis Diaz, who worked seasonally for a private company in the park in 2020, assaulted an ‘incapacitated’ woman after drinking in employee housing

By Tristan Scott

A 27-year-old Illinois man who sexually assaulted an intoxicated and incapacitated woman at an employee dormitory in Glacier National Park last summer was sentenced Sept. 3 to five years in prison and an additional five years of supervised release.

Eduardo Luis Diaz, of Chicago, Ill., pleaded guilty in March to a felony count of sexual abuse. At the time of the assault, both Diaz and the victim were working as seasonal employees for a private company with a contract to operate in the park.

At a hearing last week in Missoula, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy accepted a plea agreement between Diaz and federal prosecutors. In exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea to the crime of sexual abuse, prosecutors dismissed a felony count of aggravated sexual abuse.

Diaz was allowed to self-surrender to the federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a minute entry from the hearing.

“Seasonal workers for businesses operating in and around our national parks should be able to work in and enjoy our national parks without the threat of sexual assault and harassment,” according to a statement from Montana’s Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson. “I hope this prosecution will assure workers and the public that we will hold predators accountable for their conduct.”

The government alleged in court documents that in July 2020, Diaz and the victim, identified as Jane Doe, were both seasonal employees working in Glacier National Park for a private-sector company with a contract to operate in the park and were living in employee housing. Doe became intoxicated at a party. After Doe had passed out, Diaz sexually assaulted her. In an interview with a National Park Service ranger, Diaz told the ranger that he had engaged in sex with the victim. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kalah A. Paisley prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the National Park Service.

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.

“We thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their prosecution of this case and commend the survivor for her courage in stepping forward,” according to a statement from acting Glacier National Park Superintendent Pete Webster. “The law enforcement community knows that sexual assault is an under-reported crime, and so we encourage park visitors and employees to report these crimes so that perpetrators can be caught and brought to justice.”

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