A track and basketball coach at Spanaway Junior High has pleaded not guilty to second-degree child molestation.
Joseph Racillio Pendon, 50, of Tacoma, was arraigned Friday. He is a longtime employee at Bethel School District, working as a coach and paraeducator.
When Pierce County sheriff’s deputies arrested him Thursday, he cried and said “he did not know what to do and he did not know what this was all about,” according to court documents.
Pendon is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl whom he coached in track and basketball when she came to his house July 1 after selling firecrackers for a school fundraiser.
Charging documents give the following account:
Pendon asked the girl to help carry cardboard boxes to his home, which she did. Once there, he invited her into his bedroom to gather CDs and then wrestled with her in the family room.
After tickling her, Pendon held the girl down and asked if anyone ever had her in that position before. He then asked her to sit on his lap and asked to touch her breasts.
The girl was scared and said yes.
When the girl’s mother picked her up from Pendon’s house that day, she noticed the girl rushed outside without even putting her shoes on and was abnormally quiet.
Pendon allegedly called the girl’s house several times after the incident but she refused to talk to him.
They reported the alleged abuse after the girl told her mother what happened the following day.
Pendon is on administrative leave until the case is resolved, Bethel School District spokeswoman Krista Carlson said.