Richland man accused of groping woman in her Pasco hotel room

By The Tri-City HeraldMarch 7, 2014 

A 20-year-old Richland man is accused of groping a woman as she was sleeping after he got into her hotel room.

Dean James Eckelberger has pleaded innocent to indecent liberties. His trial is April 16.

The 18-year-old victim told officers Feb. 17 that she had attended that weekend's RadCon convention at the Red Lion Hotel in Pasco. She met Eckelberger during a function the previous evening and said he was acting "creepy," coming up to her in front of her friends and making sexual comments about her body while also saying how much he liked smooth skin, court documents said.

The woman said Eckelberger continued to be around her during the night even though he'd been told several times to leave her alone. He said he was a sadomasochist, documents said.

The woman told Officer Jeffrey Cobb she eventually went to her room to sleep. One of her roommates also was sleeping in a separate bed.

She awoke during the night with a man's hands on her. She told the man to get out of the room immediately, and couldn't tell officers if the man had his clothes on or not because the lights were off.

Police contacted Eckelberger in the lobby and his explanation reportedly did not add up. Then he allegedly admitted being in bed with the woman and groping her, said police.

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