Woman allegedly raped by inmate assigned to fight Coal Hollow Fire

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crews continue to battle the Coal Hollow Fire near Highway 6 on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018.

An Idaho inmate assigned to a work crew fighting a Utah wildfire was charged Friday with raping a Coal Hollow Fire base camp worker.

The man is accused of walking into the woman’s tent around 10 a.m. and sexually assaulting her, according to a probable cause statement.

Crews have been fighting the Coal Hollow Fire, burning southeast of Spanish Fork, since Aug. 4. More than 200 people are assigned to the fire, which has devoured nearly 30,000 acres. It is 80 percent contained, according to state fire officials.

The woman, who ran the base camp’s wash trailer, told police the man had been flirting with her over the past week. On Thursday, he came into her trailer while she was watching a movie and asked for her phone number.

She gave the man a friend’s husband’s number “to get him off her back.” Moments after, the man allegedly tried to force the woman to perform oral sex. She said no. Then, she told police, the man started assaulting her.

The woman said she didn’t yell or fight back “because she knew he was a prisoner and did not want to get hurt.”

After the alleged assault, the woman told a friend what happened, and they went to camp security guards. A guard detained the man until police arrived, and the man was taken into custody.

He was charged Friday with first-degree felony rape. He is being held without bond, according to court records.

The man was in prison in Idaho on a drug-related conviction, according to Department of Corrections records.

A spokeswoman stationed at the Coal Hollow Fire directed all questions about the alleged assault to the Sanpete County Sheriff’s Office. They didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday afternoon.

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