Pierce County prosecutors have dismissed child-molestation charges against a former volunteer assistant wrestling coach at Curtis junior and senior high schools, saying the statute of limitations has run out in the cases.
A hearing on the matter had been scheduled for Friday after David James O’Connor’s lawyer challenged the charges against his client. Attorney Clayton Dickinson argued that prosecutors had until 2008 to file charges against O’Connor, who has been accused of inappropriately touching two boys he was helping with strength training in 2005.
O’Connor pleaded not guilty to four counts of third-degree child molestation last week and has been jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail. He was expected to be released Wednesday night.
Deputy prosecutor Heather DeMaine on Wednesday said she researched the laws in effect at the time of the alleged crimes and came to believe Dickinson was right.
“The statute of limitations expired in 2008,” DeMaine said. “We are going to do the right thing today and dismiss.”
In 2005, prosecutors had three years from the time of an alleged child molestation to file charges. The Legislature since has changed the law, so prosecutors have until an alleged victim turns 30 to file charges.
O’Connor, 60, was arrested last week after two young men came forward to report he’d allegedly molested them when they were wrestlers at Curtis Junior High School in University Place. They are now 22 and 23.
O’Connor served as a volunteer assistant coach at that school from 2003 to 2006 and also at Curtis High School from 2005 to 2007.
He no longer is coaching.