Crime

Tacoma postal carrier pleads not guilty to harassing, groping women

A U.S. mail carrier pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he harassed and groped women on his Tacoma route.

Pierce County Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Robert Taitano jailed in lieu of $35,000 bail. She also forbid him from having contact with three women on his route.

Prosecutors contend in court documents that Taitano, 55, entered one woman’s apartment without permission in August, made lewd comments to another in June and groped a third in April 2013.

He’s charged with residential burglary, harassment and fourth-degree assault. Prosecutors said the three alleged crimes were sexually motivated.

Taitano’s employment status could not be determined Thursday. Court records indicate he was the subject of disciplinary proceedings, but the outcome of those proceedings was not reported in the records.

John Masters with the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General said postal officials are investigating Taitano. Masters declined to discuss Taitano’s employment status.

“This type of alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated and is a rare occurrence,” Masters said in an email.

“It is important for the public we serve to know the overwhelming majority of Postal Service employees are honest, hardworking and trustworthy individuals who would never consider engaging in any type of criminal behavior.”

Staff writer Alexis Krell contributed to this report.

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