The man is facing similar allegations from his time as a volunteer and employed teaching assistant at Manoa Valley Church.

A man who was indicted in 2017 for allegedly sexually assaulting two girls he was babysitting has been named in a recent court motion as the alleged abuser of another two girls when he worked at the Manoa Valley Church.

Casey T. Nishimura’s criminal trial has been postponed for more than five years. In the meantime, the court has permitted him to travel to the mainland, including trips to the vicinity of Disneyland.

The new motion alleges Nishimura “targeted, sexually groomed, preyed on, and sexually abused” the two girls, who are sisters, while they attended Manoa Valley Church’s Summer Fun Program. The alleged assaults of the sisters, now adults, occurred when they were between the ages of 5 and 7 during sleepovers at the church in 2001 and 2007, predating the offenses with which Nishimura is criminally charged.

The court approved the motion for the civil lawsuit to proceed with the sisters named as Jane Does to protect their identities, but the suit has not yet been filed.

Nishimura did not respond to calls for comment. His criminal defense attorney, William Harrison, did not respond to calls for comment.

Manoa Valley Church was named in a court motion alleging two girls were sexually abused at the church’s Summer Fun Program in the early 2000’s. (David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

The sisters’ lawyer, Keani Alapa, emailed a joint statement from the sisters and Manoa Valley Church that the church was unaware of the allegations when the sisters brought them up but now “stands in full support” with them.

“During that period, the Church did everything it could to protect the sisters from harm,” the statement reads.

“The sisters are aware that Mr. Nishimura has other alleged minor victims, so they intend to expose his conduct and stop him from hurting anyone else,” the statement says.

In a phone interview, Rev. Abraham Han, the senior minister for Manoa Valley Church, said Nishimura’s criminal indictment from 2017 is not related to the alleged abuse at the church.

Han, who joined the church almost three years ago, first learned about the allegations when the sisters’ legal team approached him in November 2022, he said.

Han said Nishimura stopped working at the church in 2011.

“The allegations being made against a former junior leader who was later employed as a teacher’s assistant are deeply disturbing, reprehensible, and defy the beliefs and teachings to which we adhere,” Han later wrote in an emailed statement. “The church continues to adhere to policies and procedures that safeguard the innocence of children, and we are committed to the protection of any person who enters our premises.”

The Manoa Valley Church is currently enrolling kindergarten-aged kids up to fifth graders for Summer Fun Activities, its website says. Seventh graders to 12th graders can volunteer as a junior leader.

Manoa Valley Church said it has policies and procedures in place to protect children on its premises.
(David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023)

Free To Travel, Even To Disneyland

In December 2017, prosecutors charged Nishimura with two counts of third-degree attempted sexual assault against an 11-year-old girl for attempting to touch her genitalia, and one count of third-degree sexual assault for “placing her hand on his penis.” They also charged him with two counts of third-degree sexual assault for touching a 13-year-old girl’s genitalia.

The assaults are all alleged to have occurred between August 2014 to May 2016 and in January and February of 2017. Class C felonies carry a minimum sentence of one year and eight months and a maximum of five years.

Nishimura was acting as the “parent or guardian or any other person having legal or physical custody” of the girls, the indictment said. A prosecutor’s motion later explained that Nishimura was a “family friend” who “was entrusted in babysitting the two minors while their mother was off island tending to her ailing father.”

Nishimura pleaded not guilty in January 2018. He was released on $50,000 bail.

His trial was scheduled for March 12, 2018 and then rescheduled 17 times, sometimes because of concerns about the pandemic, court records show. The last scheduled trial, on Dec. 26, did not happen.

Although most people charged with felonies are not allowed to leave the island before trial, Nishimura has been able to get away.

Judges have granted his requests to travel six times, including two stays in or near Disneyland.

First Circuit Court Judge Glenn Kim granted Nishimura’s request to travel to San Francisco for more than a week in April 2019. First Circuit Court Judge Rowena Somerville then granted his request to visit Los Angeles for 11 days in August 2019.

Somerville granted another one of his requests in February 2020 to visit Seattle, Las Vegas, then Los Angeles. According to the itinerary he sent the judge, the stay included nights at the Paris Las Vegas hotel and a few more at an Airbnb in Anaheim close to California’s Disneyland.

Somerville granted Nishimura’s request to visit Phoenix to see family and friends in July 2021, and another request to visit Tempe, Arizona in December 2021, and San Diego and Anaheim the next month. In Anaheim, he again stayed on Disneyland Drive, according to the itinerary.

On June 13, 2022, Nishimura asked to go to Phoenix “for work” later in the month for about two weeks.

CAsey T. Nishimura
Casey T. Nishimura, 2017. (Honolulu Police Dept.)

The week after, the court held a Zoom meeting. Judge Somerville addressed Nishimura with her concern given “this case is 5 years old with no firm trial setting,” the court record says. The judge said a trial must be firmly scheduled but nevertheless granted Nishimura permission to travel again.

“This will be the last time,” the record says.

Nishimura traveled to the address in Tempe, he had previously listed as home when he said he was visiting friends and family. Then he spent a week in Flagstaff.

Then last October, Nishimura’s lawyer moved to dismiss the indictment as “defective.” It was five years since Nishimura’s indictment, but his lawyer nevertheless said the prosecutors had “failed to provide defendant with sufficient notice of the charges” because they “did not specify the nature and context of the alleged ‘sexual contact.'”

Nishimura’s lawyer wrote that the prosecutors did not “sufficiently define the term ‘sexual contact.'” The indictment “is fatally defective as it does not ‘descend to particulars’ and adequately specify the nature of the alleged conduct,” he wrote.

Further, the lawyer argued, “permitting the State to recharge this case after such a delay in time does not impose upon it the gravity of its failure to meet its constitutional and statutory obligations.”

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rochelle Vidinha wrote that there was no need to “descend into the particulars,” but reiterated the specific charges of Nishimura touching the girls inappropriately and having one of them touch him.

Vidinha did not respond to a request for comment.

A call to discuss a trial is scheduled for Aug. 2, and a trial appears to be scheduled for Aug. 14.

History As Coach

Sometime after Nishimura was indicted in 2017, he stopped volunteering as an assistant coach for the University of Hawaii women’s cross country and track and field teams.

“I don’t think any of that had come to light yet,” UH spokesperson Dan Meisenzahl said.

Nishimura coached three seasons at UH. His third season ran from 2016 to 2017, according to his UH Athletics profile. The site was available May 15 but has since been removed. It remains on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

He previously was a graduate assistant cross country coach at Hawaii Pacific University. Before that, he was the head coach of the track and field team at Mid-Pacific Institute, where he had gone to school. He started coaching at the Renegades Track Club where he was the head distance coach. He ran track and field and cross country at Pacific University, where he graduated in 2010, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Nishimura worked as the corporate communications manager for Servco Pacific Inc. He no longer works there, according to Servco spokesperson Taylor Igarashi.

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