Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged a transient accused of trying to kidnap three children from the Puyallup Riverwalk Trail.
Charles Keaveny Jr., 46, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted second-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation and second-degree assault. Bail was set at $100,000.
Puyallup police arrested Keaveny on Sunday after the children’s parents called 911 and restrained him until officers arrived.
The family, which includes six children, went to the area to fish for the day. At some point, the mother took the baby and went down to the water to join her husband and their two oldest children.
Two girls, ages 6 and 8, and a 3-year-old boy stayed on the beach near a heavily wooded area.
Moments later, the children ran down to the riverbank to tell their mother a man had tried to take them into the woods, according to charging papers.
The mother confronted the man, later identified as Keaveny, “with the children’s allegation, and Keaveny told her that he had just as much right to the kids as she did, and he was going to take them,” documents say.
He then allegedly tried to punch the mom. The father intervened, hit Keaveny in the head with a bottle and held him until police arrived.
Detectives say that Keaveny admitted trying to take the children to his tent, which was about one-quarter of a mile south on the riverbank. Police said that is a known transient camp.
Keaveny initially told detectives he likes young girls and has sexual fantasies about them, according to court records.
In a later interview with police, Keaveny allegedly said he has sex only with adults and that his only mistake was being “vulgar and rude” during the confrontation with the family.
“He seemed to have a hard time tracking for any length of time and appeared to fluctuate between periods of clarity and confusion,” documents state.