W. Ashley hotel clerk accused of groping, kissing guest

Martin Rocha (Source: CCDC)
Martin Rocha (Source: CCDC)

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - A desk clerk at a West Ashley hotel was arrested on an assault charge late Wednesday after a guest said he groped and kissed her.

Charleston Police Department officers arrested 49-year-old Martin Rocha shortly after responding to the Econolodge at 2237 Savannah Highway around 10 p.m. and charged him with second-degree assault and battery.

According to an incident report, the 43-year-old victim told police she arrived at the motel with her son around 9:30 p.m. to enquire about a room. The woman said she left her son in the car when she went to the front desk.

At the desk, the victim said Rocha agreed to give her a key to room 236 to see if she liked the room before agreeing to stay the night. The woman said she went and checked out the room, found it to be fine, and went back down to the desk to tell Rocha she would take it.

The victim said she and Rocha then struck up a conversation about employment possibilities. She said she was new in town and looking for a job, and asked Rocha about applying for a job at the hotel. She said Rocha told her he was going to leave Charleston and head to Washington, DC.

After talking about the job, the woman said she asked Rocha about the ice machine, and he told her it was around the corner "and directed her to the side window." The woman said she walked out to the parking lot to her car to tell her son she was going to get some ice around the corner. She walked around the corner and went into room 110 "which Rocha opened from the inside for her," the report states.

The woman said "the room was dark but she could see part of the room due to the light coming from the door between the room and the desk," according to the report. Once she walked inside, she said Rocha grabbed her around the waist and started kissing her on the face and mouth before he began feeling her back and sliding his hand down around her bottom.

She told police she froze, not knowing what to do.

The woman said her son then walked in and she pushed Rocha away and they went quickly to their room upstairs and called the police.

The woman's son confirmed to police that he saw Rocha with his hands and arms around his mother.

Rocha told investigators he did talk with the woman about a job at the motel and also directed her to an ice machine "that was in the middle of the hotel." He was then taken to the Charleston County Detention Center.

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