Yosemite employee charged in rape, choking of co-worker on same day they met

A man who worked in Yosemite National Park has been indicted in the violent sexual assault of a fellow employee in Yosemite Valley last month.

Nathan Baptista, 36, was charged Thursday with aggravated sexual abuse stemming in the May 30 sexual assault, the Eastern District of California said in a news release.

USA TODAY was working Monday to identify Baptista's attorney but none was yet listed in court records.

Baptista and the woman he's charged with assaulting both worked at a bar for Yosemite Hospitality, which manages concessions in the central California park, located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, according to a federal complaint obtained by USA TODAY on Monday.

Yosemite National Park did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on Monday.

Yosemite Valley is seen in Yosemite National Park in California on April 19, 2008.
Yosemite Valley is seen in Yosemite National Park in California on April 19, 2008.

What is Nathan Baptista accused of?

On May 31, the woman who accused Baptista of rape told a National Park Service special agent that everything began when she and a friend were walking home the previous night, the complaint says. At some point, the two stopped at the house Baptista shared with co-workers in Yosemite Village, just around the corner from the park's famous and historic Ahwahnee Hotel, she added, according to the document.

The woman and Baptista met after he invited her and her friend into the house to drink, according to the court document.

At some point when the two were in the yard outside of the home, Baptista kissed the woman, who responded, "No," the complaint says. Once the woman's friend left the property, only she and Baptista were in the home, the document continued.

The woman said Baptista sexually assaulted her when they were talking in the living room, according to the complaint. Although the woman told the agent she did not need immediate medical attention, she had "visible bruising," the court filing continued.

Baptista is accused of beating and choking the woman during the alleged assault, according to the complaint.

'I just kept telling him to stop'

A follow-up physical examination at the nearby Yosemite Medical Clinic found that the woman had bruises on her chest, bicep, and left eyelid, and a cut on her neck, the complaint says.

During a subsequent interview with an agent on June 3, the woman said that Baptista "was slapping me in the face, and I was telling him to stop and he started choking me and he wouldn’t stop."

"I just kept telling him to stop. I told him to stop choking me," she said. "And when he stopped choking me, he just started hitting me in the face again."

At one point she said that Baptista put both hands around her neck and pushed down in the middle of her throat, affecting her ability to breathe, according to the court document.

Baptista is no longer employed as a hospitality employee for the park, the Fresno Bee reported, citing federal prosecutors.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Yosemite employee charged in co-worker's rape, choking

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