Eight more people alleged Monday that former Kamehameha Schools psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne sexually molested and abused them, while other school officials looked the other way.

The civil lawsuit was filed in First Circuit Court, two years after the school reached an $80 million settlement agreement with a group of 32 survivors of Browne’s abuse from the 1970s and ‘80s.

The latest plaintiffs said they told teachers, counselors, dorm advisers and administrators about the abuse, but the school officials allowed it to continue for years.

Kamehameha Schools Kapalama campus view.

Decades after his death, Kamehameha Schools continues to face allegations of abuse by former psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“When Kamehameha Schools saw the warning signs and were told of ongoing sex abuse, starting as early as 1966, in the worst form of betrayal, Kamehameha Schools turned its back on the children it sent to Dr. Browne,” the lawsuit said.

Among the eight plaintiffs is Duke Kahanamoku Paoa, the nephew of Olympian swimmer and surfer Duke Kahanamoku.

This is the latest in a series of lawsuits against Browne, who died by suicide in 1991 after a student confronted him about past sexual abuse.

“We appreciate the strength and courage it takes for survivors to come forward,” Kamehameha Schools spokesman Darren Pai said in an email statement. “We are very sorry for past abuses suffered by Dr. Browne’s patients and will continue to uphold our commitment to do what is right for survivors. We have been working, and will continue to work, on resolving these cases.”

Browne, who was the school psychiatrist for 27 years, did not physically work at the school. Instead, students were transported to his office at the St. Francis Medical Center, according to several lawsuits detailing his alleged abuse.

During purported therapy sessions, students would be forced to perform sexual acts, sometimes with other male observers, the suit alleged.

“The injuries suffered by the eight plaintiffs at the hands of Dr. Browne have haunted them for their entire lives,” said Mark Davis, an attorney in the case.

The plaintiffs are not only seeking reparation for their own injuries but want the school to be held accountable for failing to stop the abuse, he added.

Before you go . . .

For the past several months our nonprofit newsroom has worked beyond our normal capacity to provide accurate information, push for accountability, amplify smart ideas and new voices, and double down on facts and context to write deeply reported local stories.

The truth is, our evolution as a public service news organization over the past 10 years has prepared us for this moment in time, when what we do matters the most.

Reader support keeps our small newsroom afloat. If you value the work of our journalists, please consider making a tax-deductible gift.

About the Author