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Carnival worker in Great Falls accused of sexually assaulting police officer on fair ride

Posted at 4:35 PM, Aug 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-02 18:44:43-04

GREAT FALLS- An employee of the Thomas Carnival at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls was arrested Monday on suspicion of reportedly sexually assaulting an off-duty female police officer on a ride he was operating.

The officer, Great Falls Police Det. Katie Cunningham, told investigating officers that she and her daughter were sitting in a car in the “Speedway” ride, and she had already buckled their lap seatbelt and adjusted the tension.

She said the employee, Roberto Salaman Garcia tightened their seatbelt and placed his finger directly on her vagina outside of her pants, according to the charging document.

MTN News does not typically identify victims of sexual violence. Cunningham chose to identify herself publicly.

Cunningham told the officer that there “was no way it was an accident,” and explained that in order to come in contact with her vagina, Garcia had to leave the belt loose and reach downward, according to court documents.

Garcia has been charged in Justice Court with misdemeanor sexual assault.

John Hanschen, president of Thomas Carnival, issued a statement to MTN News:

“Thomas Carnival, Inc. operates the carnival midway attractions at the Montana State Fair in Great Falls. The safety and comfort of our patrons is upmost priority. The carnival is staffed by approximately 200 workers. The worker involved in the complaint has worked here for 2 seasons and we have had no complaints or issues with him. His home is Mexico and he possesses a visa to work in the United States. We are continuing to cooperate with the Sheriff’s department as they continue their investigation.”

The Thomas Carnival is scheduled to come to Billings for MontanaFair Aug. 10 to 18. As a condition of his charges, however, Garcia is not allowed to leave Cascade County, according to prosecutors.