Two get jail time in assault on teen

November 17, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

The sexual assault of a teenage girl last May at a party drew jail terms for two Hagerstown men Monday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Christopher Lee Eichelberger, 23, of 453 W. Washington St., and Donald Lee Shoemaker, 24, of 20211 Robinwood Court, Apt. 302, were each sentenced to serve 60 days in the Washington County Detention Center.

Each pleaded guilty to one count of fourth-degree sex offense. A second-degree assault charge was dropped in each case in exchange for the pleas.

The 16-year-old victim sat in the courtroom with her parents as Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Lisa Hardy recounted the events of May 17.


The girl told Maryland State Police she was sleeping on a couch in the basement of a home on Falling Waters Road near Williamsport after a party, Hardy said.

The girl, who had not been drinking, said she awoke to the sound of whispering and the realization that she was being sexually fondled in her genital area, Hardy said.

She screamed and discovered the two men, who ran, Hardy said.

Shoemaker, who is married and has two children, admitted to police he was at the teenage party and had been drinking.

Shoemaker's attorney said that at times during the party beer was being drunk through a funnel to speed up the effects.

Both Shoemaker and Eichelberger turned to the victim and her parents and apologized to them during the hearing.

Shoemaker also apologized to his wife who was in the courtroom.

Eichelberger is single and has no children.

"There is no excuse for this behavior which is so degrading to the victim," said Judge Donald Beachley. "In her statement, the victim said it caused a lack of self-esteem for her."

Beachley went on to say that he has often been struck by the fact that sex offenses are overwhelmingly men against women.

"We men have an obligation to educate our sons to be respectful of women," Beachley said.

Originally, Beachley imposed the maximum one-year sentence against each man but suspended 10 months of those sentences. Each man will be allowed work release during the 60 days in jail.

Probation of three years was set for each defendant.

Alcohol treatment was ordered for Shoemaker while Eichelberger was required to be evaluated. Each man must get counseling for sex offenders.

Beachley also imposed $995 in fines and costs for each man.

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