Idaho inmate accused of sexual assault at fire camp agrees to plea deal

22 days ago

An Idaho inmate accused of sexually assaulting a woman after he was sent to work at a wildfire base camp in Utah has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery.

The defendant, 28-year-old Ruben Hernandez, was charged with felony rape after he was accused of assaulting a fellow worker on Aug. 29.

He was part of a program in which low-level offenders nearing parole are released to cook and clean at wildfire base camps. Most states in the U.S. West have similar programs.

The victim who reported that Hernandez assaulted her on Aug. 29 when she rejected his advances in a remote area about 80 miles (129 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City, approved the plea deal so she could avoid having to testify in the case, prosecutor Kevin Daniels said Monday.

Hernandez is eligible for parole, May 2019, or the year when he his full sentence is set to finish, 2023.