Attorneys explain why accused teacher was released from custody - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Attorneys explain why accused teacher was released from custody

William Plourde William Plourde
Paul Cunney; attorney Paul Cunney; attorney
Victor Bakke; attorney Victor Bakke; attorney
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The teacher accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old student will need to get a home phone line as soon as he's released.

William Plourde faces seven counts of sexual assault on a minor. A judge says he can go home until his trial. Part of his conditional release is to be electronically monitored, but he needs a land line phone at his apartment which he doesn't have. So he'll need to get one installed within 24 hours of his release.

Despite objections from the prosecutor, Plourde was released on his own recognizance and without paying any of the bail money.

Plourde, 53, wasn't home when we stopped by his apartment but he soon will be. That's in large part because he doesn't have any prior criminal history, he was not deemed to be a flight risk or a danger to the community. And despite teaching at Sacred Hearts Academy for nearly three decades no other victims have stepped forward with new allegations. So after spending a month in custody he was released pending the trial.

"It's a natural thing that comes from cases. In this case the judge probably made the right decision to release him on conditions," said Paul Cunney, attorney.

Overcrowding at the jail may have also contributed.

"There are three to a cell out there and there are two bunk beds and the last guy in gets the floor," said Cunney.

Hawaii's pretrial process is one of the longest in the nation resulting in a high number of people stuck behind bars waiting for trial. But recently the justice reinvestment act took effect. One of the factors was to eliminate pretrial delays.

"They're not quick enough. They have people sitting in jail, 4, 6, 8,12 weeks without ever getting a hearing on their bail and that's just too long," said Victor Bakke, attorney.

So even with a defendant like Plourde, who is accused of sexually assaulting a 15 year old girl, he's still innocent until proven guilty and released with conditions.

"It's just within the last six months to a year where you've really seen cases that under the old system there is just no way they would have been granted release," said Bakke.

Plourde does have a curfew and will have to be at home from 7 pm to 7 am. He will also be monitored by an electronic anklet once the land line phone is installed. He must stay away from the Sacred Hearts campus and the victim.

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