HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state Department of Transportation employee and longtime civil defense volunteer is in police custody accused of using the Internet to arrange a sexual meeting with a child.
Residents of a Kapiolani Boulevard apartment building and the walk-up next door say they're shocked that their neighbor was arrested on suspicion of electronic enticement of a child. They describe Russell Loo as a quiet man who kept to himself.
Others in the community know him as a volunteer for Oahu Civil Defense.
"Mr. Loo has been a volunteer with us since 2001," John Cummings, city Department of Emergency Management, said. "He was not acting in any official capacity with the city or our program when he was arrested."
The 41-year-old is accused of arranging to meet a 15-year-old girl at Waiau District Park Sunday night, after having a series of sexually-explicit conversations online. Investigators say Loo didn't realize his Internet chats were with an undercover agent.
"Well, you know, again, until proven guilty...but our standard procedure is, for anyone who's arrested, is to place them on leave until further notice until we find out more about what's happening, just as a precaution," Cummings said.
Aside from his volunteer work, the state Department of Transportation says Loo is one of its laborers assigned to the Honolulu International Airport and will likely be placed on administrative leave.
"This should in no way reflect on the good efforts that our volunteers do in the community itself," Cummings said.
Loo has been charged with first-degree electronic enticement of a child, and will make his initial court appearance Wednesday morning.
His bail is set at $40,000.