Tacoma

Sex offender charged with touching boy in YMCA shower

TACOMA, Wash. -- A convicted sex offender pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted child molestation. Brian Coleman is accused of rubbing soap on at least one child in a Tacoma YMCA shower following swim lessons last spring.

Coleman was arrested recently in Texas and brought back to Washington.  He is being held in the Pierce County Jail on $500,000 bail.

According to probable cause documents filed with the Washington State Superior Court, a 7-year-old boy was showering in the locker room at the Pearl Street YMCA May 18 while his mother waited outside.

On the drive home, the victim told his mother a man named Brian rubbed soap on his back and stomach while he was in the shower. The victim said the man also tried to get him to go into a bathroom stall with him, but he refused.

According to the probable cause documents, the victim described the man as old and bald with a long white beard. He also said the man put soap on his friend, as well.

An investigation led the Tacoma Police Department to Coleman, a 53-year-old YMCA member and Level 1 sex offender with two 2008 convictions for sexual abuse.

According to the probable cause documents, surveillance video shows Coleman entering the YMCA locker room around the same time as the reported incident.

Police attempted to contact Coleman on June 11, but he said he was out of state and would not be returning until July 10, according to the probable cause documents.

Since that time, police had reportedly been unable to get in contact with Coleman, either at his home or on the phone. And, a warrant was been issued for his arrest.

"We're deeply saddened by this incident," said Michelle LaRue of the YMCA. "It is absolutely unfortunate. It's something we work very hard to prevent."

The YMCA confirms the suspect had been a member of the Tacoma facility for two years and somehow got passed their security check. "We do run our membership database against local and national registries every three months to identify sex offenders," said LaRue. "He did not come up in our search at that time which was unfortunate."

"I don't know what they could do to keep that kind of problem," said member Joshua Brooks. "Have somebody in there all the time to watch out for that, I think."

The YMCA said it has its life guards routinely checking the locker rooms during the busiest times. And staff members are trained on identifying child abuse.