A former Maui police officer was sentenced Wednesday to 30 months in prison for soliciting sex from a woman he arrested.
Brandon Saffeels, 36, was sentenced for public corruption in the form of honest services wire fraud after pleading guilty in May 2021 to engaging in a bribery scheme in which he solicited sex from a female motorist in exchange for an official act as a police officer.
The victim told Hawaii News Now that Saffeels offered to throw his testimony in a drunken driving case in exchange for sexual acts.
In July 2019, then-officer Saffeels arrested the woman for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant, according to court records.
Afterward, Saffeels began communicating with the woman through phone calls and text messages.
Among other things, Saffeels told the woman that he would help her beat the state case being brought against her by providing perjured testimony so the court would throw out her case or the jury would rule in her favor, according to court documents.
“Brandon Saffeels betrayed our expectation that law enforcement officers will not take advantage of their authority for personal benefit,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Judith Philips said in a statement. “This prosecution demonstrates our determination to hold public officials accountable for criminal abuse of their positions.”
The FBI conducted the investigation that led to Saffeels’ conviction.
“The cornerstone of the public’s trust in law enforcement relies on the expectation that each person who takes the oath to protect and serve the public will do so with integrity,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill said in the press release. “Today, former officer Saffeels was sentenced for violating that trust.”
Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.
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