Tacoma police on Wednesday arrested a postal carrier accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching several women for years on his delivery route.
Pierce County prosecutors charged Robert Joseph Taitano, 55, with fourth-degree assault, harassment and residential burglary, all sexually motivated, court papers state.
His arraignment is set for Thursday (Oct. 30). Court records did not list a lawyer for him.
Charging papers gave these accounts:
A Tacoma woman getting ready for work in her apartment Aug. 5 heard her young son say hello to someone in their living room. She found Taitano closing the front door behind him as he entered the apartment.
The woman yelled at him to leave, to which he replied: “Your door was unlocked.”
When he noticed a large knife nearby in the kitchen, he told the woman she wouldn’t see him again, and left.
Police arrived and spoke with the woman, who said that a few weeks before she found a missed delivery slip under her door and gave it to Taitano.
He asked her personal questions, including whether she was married, and if anyone else lived in her apartment. He wasn’t able to find a package in her name, and didn’t give a reason why he left the delivery slip.
The detective who investigated the report found several similar allegations against Taitano.
In one, a woman reported that he asked about her sex life and propositioned her for sex while he was working in 2004. She said he started advancing toward her, getting within six inches, when a neighbor’s boyfriend arrived and intervened.
The U.S. Postal Service was notified, and disciplinary proceedings reportedly happened. A representative of the Postal Inspection Service was not reachable Wednesday.
A third woman reported in 2011 that Taitano grabbed her around the waist and demanded to be hugged. She yelled at him to leave. After this, he would show up at her office and ask for a hug or a kiss, she told police.
This incident is the only one for which court papers gave an exact location: an apartment complex near South 30th Street and South Tyler Street in Tacoma.
The woman also reportedly filed a complaint with the Postal Service.
Another woman reported in 2013 that Taitano delivered mail to her hair salon for several years as an interim carrier and would socialize, making her customers feel uncomfortable.
She said she told him not to touch her when he once rubbed her shoulders and reported he also asked her for hugs, which she declined.
One time he grabbed her butt, and she told the Postal Service she wanted him removed from the mail route. The agency told her he would deliver mail only to the slot and would not enter the business.
After that directive, he still came into her salon, she said.
A 76-year-old woman reported to the Postal Service that when Taitano was a substitute carrier on her route he made vulgar sexual comments to her. Court records didn’t give a timeframe for the allegations.