A University Place man has been charged with four counts of third-degree child molestation after two men recently came forward to accuse him of fondling them when they were junior high school wrestlers and he was an assistant coach in 2005.
David James O’Connor, 60, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court. His attorney, Clayton Dickinson, immediately made a motion to dismiss the charges, arguing in court documents that the statute of limitations on the allegations had run out.
Court Commissioner Meagan Foley did not rule on Dickinson’s motion but ordered O’Connor jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail pending further hearings. Dickinson’s motion to dismiss is to be heard Friday.
O’Connor served as a volunteer assistant coach at Curtis Junior High School during the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 school years and also at Curtis High School during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years, said Patti Banks, superintendent of the University Place School District.
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O’Connor’s children attended those schools during that time and were members of the wrestling teams, Banks said.
Dickinson said Monday that his client was not coaching when he was arrested last week.
His accusers, now 22 and 23, told authorities that at the end of the 2004-05 school year O’Connor offered to help them improve their conditioning through weight training, court records show.
During the training, O’Connor allegedly put his hand under one of the boys’ shorts and touched his penis and scrotum, the records show.
“The defendant claimed he was checking to make sure (the boy) was not getting any hernias and that there were no bumps on his testicles,” the records state.
Both men told detectives O’Connor also started some training sessions by asking them to meditate. During some of the meditation sessions, O’Connor allegedly told the boys to think of attractive women and then masturbated them when they became aroused, court records show.
O’Connor allegedly told one of the boys he masturbated him to “get him ready to lift and to help control his energy,” the records state.
The alleged incidents took place at a number of homes in the area.
The 23-year-old man told police he came forward after speaking to a spiritual adviser and psychologist and wondering whether O’Connor still had contact with children, the records show.
A detective interviewed O’Connor on Wednesday. O’Connor denied molesting the two men but said he’d been accused of similar behavior in Lewis County about 20 years ago, records show.