Idaho man admits grabbing cheerleaders

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldNovember 17, 2012 

An Idaho man has admitted he drove to the Tri-Cities a number of times to grab high school cheerleaders under their skirts and watch them during games.

Jeffrey Paul Gravelle, 41, pleaded guilty in Benton County Superior Court to voyeurism and three counts of fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation.

The Bonners Ferry man was at two Hanford High School football games in September and groped three cheerleaders. School officials later identified him as a suspicious man who was seen loitering outside the girls' locker room during a February basketball game.

Gravelle was arrested Sept. 15, a week after the first football game incident at the Hanford-Kamiakin matchup.

A Hanford cheerleader had reported that she was talking to other cheerleaders Sept. 7 when a man came up behind her, grabbed her buttocks and reached under her skirt, court documents said.

A couple with sons on the football team also told authorities about a man who had pushed between them and hit the cheerleader's bottom, documents said. When the girl didn't respond, the man reached under her skirt, the couple said.

The man later was identified as Gravelle.

A Kamiakin cheerleader said Gravelle also walked by her, touched her behind, then reached under her skirt. She said she also saw the man go out of his way to approach another Kamiakin cheerleader. The third cheerleader told police that she felt someone touch her bottom as he walked by, documents said.

The following week, the Hanford cheerleader was at a Hanford-Pasco game when she spotted Gravelle in the stands. She alerted her mother, who called police.

The two Kamiakin cheerleaders said they had seen Gravelle at other games and that he once followed the squad from Burger King to the practice field, court documents said.

They said Gravelle appeared to be trying to look up their skirts when they were warming up before the Hanford game, forcing them to change their positions. The girls wear a brief that "covers the entire bottom area" under their skirts, documents said.

Gravelle was identified as the same man seen Feb. 12 in an area near the visiting and home team lockers, where the cheerleaders keep their bags, court documents said. Only students and school administrators are allowed to be in that area.

A video captured Gravelle near the locker room, and it appeared he was trying to take pictures of the cheerleaders, documents said.

Gravelle told police that he "had a sexual problem for the last 15 years," in particular with high school cheerleaders, documents said. He said he liked watching them warm up and stretch before games and is willing to drive several hours at a time just to watch them.

Gravelle's sentencing is set tentatively for Dec. 6.

He faces up to 90 days in jail, however the recommended sentence is two months in jail.

Since Gravelle already has served that time behind bars, prosecutors agreed to let him out on his personal recognizance. He was released from the jail late Thursday afternoon.

He is allowed to travel within Washington and Idaho while awaiting sentencing, but had to sign a waiver of extradition in case he fails to show for the next hearing.

Judge Vic VanderSchoor ordered Gravelle to participate in his presentencing report and cooperate with the state community corrections officer who will write the report.

Gravelle also was told he cannot attend high school sporting events in Benton County.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service