A former Hakalau resident accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing five of his adopted sons has been located in Florida.
Jay Ram was served with the lawsuit, filed in Honolulu Circuit Court in March, earlier this month after being tracked to the rural community of Odessa, outside Tampa, Fla., said Honolulu attorney Mark Gallagher, who is representing the plaintiffs. He had recently moved there from Saipan.
Gallagher said Ram, now going by the name Jay Mizraha, is living with three other males, either teenagers or young men. The youngest is believed to be a teenager from Hilo, said Joelle Casteix of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Casteix is acting as an advocate for the five unnamed plaintiffs, though Ram was not part of a religious organization.
Ram is facing civil charges over the alleged abuse of the plaintiffs, who lived with him in the 1980s and early 1990s in California or on a farm in Hakalau. The statute of limitations has prevented criminal charges from being sought.
That could change if there are younger victims who come forward, Casteix said.
“The civil suit has been able to chase Jay Ram out of his comfort zone and put people on notice that there is a problem,” she said.
“The next step is to get the criminal charges filed.”
Ram, who is about 60, is believed to have adopted numerous boys whom he put to work on various agriculture projects, Casteix said. While in Hakalau, he had worked with the University of Hawaii at Hilo in agriculture research.
One of Ram’s neighbors in Odessa, who spoke to the Tribune-Herald on the condition of anonymity, said Ram is living on a five-acre plot with “three young men or boys” whom he doesn’t let out on their own.
A Realtor on Saipan, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Ram sold his beachfront house quickly and for a significant loss in October. He moved there from the Big Island in January 2012.
At the time, Ram lived with a teenage boy and two men, the Realtor said.
Gallagher said he believes Ram moved to Florida after becoming aware of the lawsuit.
“Florida can be very protective of debtors assets, particularly of assets in the form of a residence,” he said.
Gallagher said authorities in Florida will be notified of his presence.
Email Tom Callis at email@example.com.