Crime

He sped down an alley, threatening to kill his wife, her kids, prosecutors say

A Tacoma man faces 10 criminal charges after prosecutors say he molested his stepdaughter and later threatened to crash a car with three children unbuckled in the back seat.

The 31-year-old was arraigned Friday in Pierce County Superior Court on three counts of second-degree child molestation, five counts of attempted second-degree assault, one count of fourth-degree assault and one count of second-degree malicious mischief. Judge Timothy Ashcraft ordered him held in lieu of $200,000 bail.

According to charging documents:

The man was living with his wife and her three children at a Tacoma homeless shelter.

He didn’t come to bed on Aug. 26, and his wife found him in the children’s shared room and asked him what he was doing. He said he was opening a window, so they went to bed.

Later that day, the 13-year-old told her mother that the man had sucked on her toes and molested her, something that had been happening since May.

The mother told the man to leave the shelter, and he took off in her car. The mother knew her car would be at the man’s uncle’s house, so she went and took it back.

The man came back to the shelter Monday to take the car.

The mother and two of her friends had the car’s hood up as they attempted to disconnect the battery.

But before they could do that, the man jumped into the driver’s seat and took off.

All three kids were in the back seat, and none of them were wearing seatbelts. The mother and one of her friends jumped onto the car’s front doors, each holding onto the open sunroof.

The man drove through an alley at speeds upwards of 40 mph as the women clung to the car. He threatened to crash the car into a tree at the end of the alley and kill everyone.

The mother’s friend climbed in through the passenger door and closed it, and the man stopped the car at the end of the alley and put it into park. The friend took the keys from the ignition.

The man grabbed the mother’s cellphone and smashed it into the road, then broke the car’s windshield, headlight wipers, rear windshield wiper and radio antenna. Then he fled the area.

The mother got a protection order against the man, but before it could be served, the man followed her and the children to Wright Park on Tuesday, where her son saw him hiding in the men’s bathroom.

The man was convicted in 2009 of immoral communications with a minor for writing a note with sexual content to a 12-year-old neighbor.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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