EXCLUSIVE: Judge finds abuse at Kipapa Elementary - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

EXCLUSIVE: Judge finds abuse at Kipapa Elementary

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An administrative law judge has ruled that several autistic children at Kipapa Elementary School were physically and emotionally abused by school staffers.

The 63-page report by Haunani Alm suggests that the state botched its investigation into the abuse.

"This is one of the most egregious cases I've ever seen come out of the DOE," said Susan Dorsey, attorney for one of the students.

Alm's ruling found that one of Dorsey's clients -- a nine-year-old autistic girl -- was forced-fed by an administrative aide and that the student was terrified of going to school as a result.

"The allegations were that the child was force fed to the point of vomiting and then she was told to eat her vomit," Dorsey said.

The judge also found evidence of abuse of other children.

"There were instances where children were slammed down on the table face down by the back of the neck," said Dorsey.

"Children were being inappropriately restrained, children were being tied to chairs."

Hawaii News Now previously reported on the case a eight-year-old girl who was held down by the aide for several minutes and a nine-year-old who was tied to her desk with a scarf and forced watch television for hours because she had acted up.

When asked about these allegations in March, this is what DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi told us:

"There was no finding against the employees that the allegations were made against so they were allowed to return to work," Matayoshi said.

But Alm's ruling found that the aide and as well as the special education teacher that supervised the class -- were "not credible and the their accounts that no abuse occurred in the classroom were "riddled with inconsistencies."

The state Attorney General's office assigned an investigator to the case but Alm said his report was one-sided.

"There really was no investigation," said Dorsey.

"They didn't call any witnesses to substantiate their investigative report. The investigator only talked to the abusers.

The report will not be used in as many as three civil lawsuits against the DOE. And that could cost the state millions of dollars.

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