TACOMA, Wash. – One of the top goalkeeper coaches in the state was charged on Monday with kissing and groping a 16-year-old girl who was taking private lessons from him.
Kelly Bendixen, who was a longtime assistant coach on both the men’s and women’s soccer teams at the University of Puget Sound until his contract ran out last November, in addition to running the Bendixen Goal Keeping Academy, was charged with first degree sexual misconduct with a minor in Pierce County Superior Court. Bail was set at $25,000.
Bendixen denies doing anything inappropriate with the teen.
According to charging documents:
The 52-year-old Bendixen has been coaching the girl since she was 8 years old, and last week he picked her up at her home for a coaching session at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. The girl said Bendixen had talked to her about problems with his marriage in the past, and during the car ride he began groping her.
She said they went through the coaching session and he began groping her again on the way home, finally stopping to kiss her when they got close to her home.
Two days later, Bendixen and the girl had another coaching session and he allegedly told her he’d had fun and told her not to tell anybody about it or he’d go to jail.
Three days after that, the girl told her priest and then her mother what had happened. Her mother called the police.
Fircrest Police went to Bendixen’s home and talked to his wife, who called Bendixen and told him to come home. The girl said she got two phone calls from him at that point, but she didn’t answer. She said she then got a text from him saying “are we OK?”
Steve McLean with Sound says it's best for parents to stay at private lessons with their children.
"That hour, even a young teen should not be left with an adult like that, even if that adult is trusted," said McLean.
He says it's important to start conversations early with children about boundaries using specific examples, like what kind of physical touch is appropriate for a doctor versus a coach.
"Certainly differentiating between what’s appropriate for a doctor and a soccer coach is an easy way to have that conversation," said McLean. He stressed the importance of having those conversations with children from a very young age and increasing that dialogue as the child gets older.
Bendixen came home and talked to the police and denied doing anything inappropriate with the girl.