HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former University of Hawaii Wahine volleyball standout Kim Willoughby, who was convicted for assaulting a woman outside a Honolulu night club, asked a judge on Tuesday to release her from probation early so that she can play abroad.
Since receiving a sentence of five years probation in 2009, Willoughby has been court monitored in Louisiana and Puerto Rico under the Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision. But now, she wants to go outside the US -- to Russia.
The 2003 National Collegiate Volleyball Player of the Year and three-time All-American has been offered a three-month, $75,000 contract to play in Russia. The only thing blocking her was the remaining two-and-a-half years of a five-year term of probation for felony assault.
The 31-year-old asked to be freed from that obligation now.
"My life has always been playing sports," she said. "Having that being currently taken away from me, it's been really difficult."
Willoughby pleaded no contest in 2009 to punching a woman in the face in the parking lot of Pipeline Cafe in 2006. The victim, Sara Daniel, suffered a broken nasal bone and eye socket.
"We're just going to oppose the early termination because the state has already made accommodations for the defendant, and the complainant opposes the early termination," Kurt Nakamatsu, deputy prosecutor, said.
Seeking educational and athletic opportunities, Willoughby was allowed to have her court supervision transferred to Louisiana and Puerto Rico under the Interstate Compact.
"I've complied with every single thing," she said. "I've actually, in the time that I was not playing and spent my time in Louisiana, I have started volleyball clubs and worked with kids."
"The Interstate Compact law doesn't apply to countries outside the jurisdiction of the United States," Richard Hoke, defense attorney, said. "It applies to territories and states, but not for like Russia."
The judge struggled with the decision, saying this was a serious offense and that she doesn't believe athletes should be given a special deal. But she granted the request anyway.
"Since you have these opportunities, and I know that for volleyball they often are not here in the United States, I'm going to make an exception this time," Karen Ahn, Circuit Judge, said. "I'm going to grant your motion."
Willoughby says she's sorry about the nightclub incident.
"Regardless of if people were drunk or anything, it should have never happened," she said. "If there is anyway that I can go back and change it, I would."
Willoughby says she's pursuing a master's degree in education. The volleyball contract from Russia is from later this month through March.
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