Sunday, June 1, 2008

Luzerne County rape suspect had previous no-contact order

Two days before the alleged rape of a woman from Plymouth Township, Luzerne County, PA, she filed a protection from abuse (PFA) order alleging that Joseph Craig Eckrote, 48 had physically assaulted her and her 17 year old son inside their home on May 3. He was charged with terroristic threats and harassment, and ordered evicted from the woman's home. Eckrote was also placed on $10,000 unsecured bail.

The woman alleged in the PFA that Eckrote assaulted her son because her son wouldn’t help him with a disabled vehicle. She contacted state police, who told Eckrote to leave the residence to “cool off” for several hours.

Shortly after police left, Eckrote returned to the woman’s residence and threatened her, according to the PFA documents and arrest records.

The woman claimed Eckrote told her, “Not to go to work tonight because (she’ll) be floating in the river.” He also remarked that her son would “be floating in the river,” the PFA documents say. Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Toole granted the woman the temporary PFA.
Court documents regarding the outcome of the PFA hearing had not been filed in the county prothonotary’s office as of Thursday.

On May 17, the woman told police Eckrote surprised her when she arrived home from work. He forced her into a car, and threatened to kill himself unless she withdrew the PFA, according to arrest records. Eckrote drove to a secluded area near the Susquehanna River and told the woman he wasn’t going to jail for violating the PFA. He raped the woman, police said in arrest records, before telling her to walk away.

Police searched for Eckrote before he surrendered at Magisterial District Judge Donald Whittaker's office Wednesday, May 28.

Eckrote is being charged with rape, robbery of a vehicle, simple assault and two counts of kidnapping. He's being held on $125,000 bail and his preliminary hearings on the rape charges are scheduled for June 5, and the other charges are scheduled for June 23.

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