WALLA WALLA — A 23-year-old area man pleaded guilty Monday in Superior Court to causing a female acquaintance to have sexual contact with him without her consent in the 00 block of North Clinton Street last fall.
Joseph W. Starr entered the guilty plea to the charge of indecent liberties without forcible compulsion.
He faces a standard-range prison term of 31-41 months when he’s sentenced. The prosecution is recommending the high end of that range.
Starr initially was accused of indecent liberties by using force, which would have resulted in a prison term of 67-89 months. But the prosecution agreed to reduce the charge if he pleaded guilty.
Officials said Starr and the victim were walking with a group of people Nov. 23 when she dropped and broke her phone and he stayed behind to help her pick up the pieces.
Starr started kissing and touching the girl inappropriately, then pushed her to the ground, got on top of her and started to drag her into a stairwell near some apartments, officials said.
She told authorities she screamed at him to stop, and one of the males from the group she was hanging out with pushed Starr off of her and started beating him up, according to a police report filed in court.
Starr, of 620 S.E. Eighth St., No. 420, College Place, was arrested Feb. 8.