Police: Obsessed man gropes several girls at high school football game

Police: Obsessed man gropes several girls at high school football game

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Police say a man's obsession with high school cheerleaders led him to grope several girls at a Hanford High Football game.

KEPR's cameras caught all the action of this Hanford Falcons game a few weeks back except a possible crime. It was at this game a Hanford High cheerleader claimed she was groped by 41-year-old Jeffrey Gravelle.

The girl says he grabbed her backside and put his hand on her crotch.

After the game, two more cheerleaders reported similar violations. By the time they spoke up, Gravelle was long gone.

Reporter: "What do you think when you hear about this happening at your school?"
Hanford High Student: "I was shocked.  The nerve this guy had is mind blowing."

A week after the first incident, police say Gravelle returned to another Hanford football game where he was recognized by one of the cheerleaders he's accused of grabbing.

Police showed up and arrested him.

"I can't imagine what some people are thinking.  Some of the parents knowing what happened.  I can't imagine what's going on inside their heads."

Police believe Gravelle drove four hours from Idaho to grope the Hanford cheerleaders.

In court documents, Gravelle admitted he could spend hours watching the girls and would often drive long distances just to get sight of them.

He says Hanford High was a random pick as he was passing through town.

"The guy had no right to do this. To imagine what he was thinking... it's just messed up."

KEPR knows your students' safety is a prime concern.

So KEPR reached out to Richland Schools to find out if there was any breakdown in security or if any changes will be made because of this situation.

They weren't available for an interview, but insist safety is a top priority and say sometimes you cannot control who attends football games.

Gravelle isn't just passing through town any more. He's housed in Benton County jail on felony charges.

Gravelle was booked for felony voyeurism and multiple assault charges. Police believe he even took pictures of the girls under their skirts.