A Honolulu official charged with running the island’s COVID-19 testing program is taking a paid administrative leave after he was accused in a lawsuit last week of having an exploitative sexual relationship with a Kamehameha Schools student in the 1980s.
The Jane Doe lawsuit alleges Enterprise Services Director Guy Kaulukukui was a “pedophiliac predator who groomed, manipulated, sexually exploited and sexually assaulted” the plaintiff over two years starting in 1985 when she was 15 years old.
At the time, Kaulukukui was a 24-year-old teacher and coach for the school. The plaintiff, who is suing Kaulukukui, the school system and trustees, reported the abuse to teachers, dorm advisors and a coach – verbally and in writing – but “Kamehameha Schools did nothing,” the lawsuit states.
In a statement, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he became aware of the lawsuit over the weekend and put Kaulukukui on leave on Monday. On Wednesday afternoon, Kaulukukui did not respond to a request for comment.
The case is one of many filed recently against Kamehameha and other institutions ahead of a statutory deadline. In a statement, Kamehameha Schools spokesman Darren Pai reiterated sympathies expressed last week.
“We are saddened by the tragic events described by our former Kamehameha students,” he said. “We honor and appreciate the strength and courage it took for them to come forward. They are part of our ʻohana. We care for all of them and will continue to work with them to do what is pono.”
According to the lawsuit’s complaint against Kaulukukui, the plaintiff was a “carefree and free-spirited child from Molokai” who attended Kamehameha for the first time as a freshman boarding student. During her sophomore year, Kaulukukui allegedly began to remove the 15-year-old from her racquetball gym class on a regular basis for “one on one lessons” during which he would kiss and molest her, the complaint says.
Hawaii’s age of consent at the time was 14 years old. However, Jon Jacobs, the plaintiff’s lawyer, said there were and are prohibitions on sexual contact between young people and those more than five years older than them.
Also, Jacobs said Kaulukukui’s behavior would have constituted a criminal offense regardless. The statute of limitations for criminal charges is long gone, Jacobs said.
The assaults took a psychological toll on the girl, who withdrew from Kamehameha ahead of her junior year, the lawsuit states.
Within two weeks of enrolling at Molokai High School, Kaulukukui began calling the girl at her parent’s home, according to the lawsuit. During the phone calls, the lawsuit says Kaulukukui “feigned interest and concern” in the girl’s well-being “while instructing her to ‘keep everything secret.'”
Kaulukukui flew to Maui multiple times to watch the teenager compete in cross country meets and take photographs of her, according to the lawsuit. Upon each visit, the complaint says he gave her gifts. He allegedly sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions at beaches on Molokai and in the Hotel Molokai.
During a trip to Oahu, the plaintiff alleges Kaulukukui picked her up from the airport, drove her to his home, sexually assaulted her multiple times and took explicit photos of her.
From 1985 to 1987, Kaulukukui gave the girl numerous gifts including flowers, a stuffed animal, clothes, shoes, photographs, a kite and lingerie – gestures that the lawsuit states were efforts to silence her.
For her senior year, the girl returned to Kamehameha Schools with the understanding that Kaulukukui was no longer working there, the lawsuit states. She graduated in 1988.
According to the lawsuit, Kamehameha Schools had a duty to protect its students from sexual predators but it failed to do this. Instead, the complaint states the school allowed Kaulukukui “free rein” over students without oversight and failed to investigate the allegations against him.
The alleged abuse forever altered the course of the plaintiff’s life by causing severe and long-term psychological, physical and emotional damage, the lawsuit says. She suffers from anxiety, depression and disassociation among other issues.
With Kaulukukui on leave, it’s unclear who will be tapped to head Honolulu’s COVID-19 efforts. Representatives for the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to questions on Wednesday evening.
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