In Brief | Big Island & State | 4-24-14


Additional charges against Sale postponed

Police have held off charging a Hilo man with a litany of abuse and other charges, instead forwarding the investigation on a majority of the charges for which they arrested him to the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

Police arrested Keahi Sale Saturday at Spencer Beach Park after receiving a report that he had allegedly kidnapped a woman. Sale, 25, was charged Tuesday with kidnapping, sexual assault, terroristic threatening and abuse, according to online court records.

Sale, who was featured on Hawaii Island’s Most Wanted for three unrelated warrants, was initially also charged with felony assault on an infant, abuse of a child, unlawful imprisonment of another woman, terroristic threatening, custodial interference, sexual assault, unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle and 11 traffic offenses. Those alleged offenses all occurred between September and this month in Hilo and Puna, police said.

On Saturday, Sale allegedly took a woman to Spencer Beach Park, where she called to bystanders for help. People at the park physically restrained Sale until police arrived.

His bail was set at $80,000.

After conferring with prosecutors Tuesday afternoon, on the additional offenses, police did not charge Sale with any of them and will forward those cased to the Office of the Prosecuting attorney for final disposition.

Sale is incarcerated at Hawaii Community Correctional Center and is being held there on the three warrants. His initial court appearance for the charged offenses is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

BOE to meet in Kona tonight

The Hawaii Board of Education will meet at 6 p.m. today at Kealakehe High School for a community meeting.

The meeting brings together board members, the Honokaa-Kealakehe-Kohala-Konawaena Complex Area superintendent and the public to “get to know each other, share views on public education and discuss the community’s role in supporting student achievement and our public library system,” board officials said.

The BOE community meetings are focused on sharing information and receiving community input on the BOE and Department of Education’s Strategic Plan for public education and the Hawaii State Public Library system. The meeting is open to parents, students, teachers and anyone interested in education.

National park announces aerial operations

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will have several aerial operations in the next month. On Monday and May 12 and 26, park officials will use aircraft between 8 a.m. and noon to transport fencing material from the summit of Kilauea to an area near the top of Mauna Loa Road.

On Tuesday, there will be a morning flight to Kahuku for wildlife management.

May 16, park officials will fly camp supplies and equipment from the end of Chain of Craters Road to the Apua Point, Keauhou and Halape campsites for annual monitoring of hawksbill turtle nesting season.

Dates and times are subject to change based on aircraft availability and weather.

Hawaii may extend time to sue for child sex abuse

HONOLULU — Victims of child sexual abuse in Hawaii would have more time to file lawsuits against abusers if lawmakers pass one of two bills pending in the Legislature.

In a highly publicized law, victims had been given a two-year window to file suit in cases that have passed the statute of limitations, which led to the filing of many claims. That window is set to close today.

In advance of the deadline, former child model Michael Egan III filed several lawsuits against Hollywood executives, claiming that “X-Men” director Bryan Singer and several others abused him as part of a Hollywood sex ring. Singer and others have denied the allegations. The director’s attorney has called the claims defamatory.

Lawmakers planned to debate the proposals Wednesday afternoon.

Rep. Mele Carroll said it’s important to empower victims of sexual assault no matter how much time has passed.

“Too often, by the time a victim is ready to admit the abuse they have suffered the statute of limitations is expired and the victims are left powerless and unable to receive the justice they deserve,” Carroll said in a statement.

Carroll has introduced House Bill 2034, which seeks to allow victims to file claims against individuals or institutions until they reach age 55.

But State Attorney General David Louie has warned that if filing limitations were lifted or significantly extended, a victim could sue decades after an assault, when memories had faded and witnesses had moved or passed away.

Another proposal, Senate Bill 2687, seeks to extend the filing window for another two years.

Lawmakers are also debating whether the state should continue to be exempt from those lawsuits. Under current law, victims can file suit against private institutions, but not, for example, public schools.

That provision is unfair, said Walter Yoshimitsu, executive director of the Hawaii Catholic Conference. Someone who went to private schools can later accuse a teacher there of sexual abuse.

“The same kid, if he or she were in a public school and wants to accuse a teacher, they cannot sue,” Yoshimitsu said.

Governor’s rival to speak at Democratic convention

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s Democratic primary opponent David Ige will be allowed to speak at the party’s state Democratic convention in May after all.

Ige’s advisers complained to the Democratic Party of Hawaii last week after learning that he and other candidates would not be able to address delegates from the convention podium.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser said the party reversed course Tuesday evening and agreed to allow Ige five minutes to speak. Abercrombie and seven other top elected officials also will be allowed five minutes each to speak.

Ige blamed the exclusion on Abercrombie. An aide to the governor’s deputy chief of staff is planning the convention.

Party officials, however, had said that shortening the event to two days made it impossible to allow all candidates to speak.

Snorkeler who died identified

LIHUE, Kauai — A snorkeler who died off Kauai’s coast has been identified as a Washington state resident.

The Garden Island said the drowning victim is identified as 65-year-old Gayle Kelly.

Kelly died after getting caught in a current while snorkeling with other swimmers off Haena Beach Park April 16.

Responders on rescue boats and a jet ski were unable to resuscitate Kelly.

Authorities said the other snorkelers were able to make it back safely after the current pulled them out to deep water.

The death was Kauai’s second drowning this year.

Governor signs bill increasing protection from mortgage rescue fraud

HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie Wednesday signed House Bill 2275, Act 26, a measure that increases the protection of distressed homeowners against predatory mortgage rescue fraud.

Act 26 expands the definition of “distressed property consultant” to anyone who represents or assists those who provide distressed property consultant services for an advance fee. It also clarifies that attorneys exempt from this definition must be licensed by, and engaged in the practice of law, in the state.

Act 26 aligns Hawaii law with the Federal Trade Commission’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rule adopted in 2010, assisting the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection in enforcing the mortgage rescue fraud law against all individuals involved in a scheme, such as the alleged scam announced last week that OCP believes may have affected more than 500 Hawaii homeowners.

Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a mortgage rescue scam can file a complaint with the OCP by contacting the Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272 or visit cca.hawaii.gov/ocp.

By local and wire sources