Kids' videos to killer leads to Maui mentor's firing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Kids' videos to killer leads to Maui mentor's firing

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Maui mentor has lost her job amid allegations she used her position as a program director with the Boys & Girls Clubs to influence children to support a convicted murderer.

"Hi Jodi. I'm Julie from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui in Makawao and we've been learning a couple different things under our mentor Jill from our Smart Moves club, like how to say no to domestic violence. Just say no. I love you," a club participant is recorded saying in one of several videos expressing love for Jodi Arias -- who was convicted of first-degree murder in Arizona for stabbing her ex-boyfriend 27 times, before slitting his throat and shooting him in the head.

Officials confirm the videos were taken by Jill Delos Santos, a former program director at the clubhouse in Makawao, who appeared to be using Arias as an example to teach kids about domestic violence. Delos Santos has since been fired.

"The employee was acting totally on her own without approval of the leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui and was in violation and contrary to the clear policies of this organization," said Chief Executive Officer Kelly Pearson.

Person says the videos were taken without any parent's consent. Many of them were unaware they existed until they popped up on several social media sites in support of Arias.

In one of the videos, you can hear Delos Santos coaching a kid to say love you.

"Hi Jodi, my name is David and we support you 100%. (Delos Santos: Love you.) Love you."

It's unclear how many times Delos Santos filmed the kids. There's also a picture of a group holding a sign that reads: 'We love you Jodi from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui".

"It's an ongoing investigation making sure that we can interview everyone, but I do know that the kids were unaware of who they were supporting and sending a message to -- that I know for sure," Pearson said.

The videos were posted to De Los Santos Facebook profile and shared on several sites -- including the "Justice 4 Jodi" fan page, where it was later picked up by a "Court Chatter" blog that accuses the Maui woman of using her influence for "tricking children".

"Jodi, we love and support you and say no to domestic violence. Hi, I'm Naomi. Go Jodi. If Jill loves you, we love you," another child is recorded saying.

"How sad that children in need of adult guidance, who join these clubs seeking a mentor found this monster instead," one person wrote after watching the videos.

"Jill Delos Santos should be investigated for child abuse for exploiting these children for her own personal gain," another commented.

Officials say they have notified all parents of the children involved and their top priority is to make sure the kids are okay.

"With the support of the community, there's no doubt that we are the right place for kids to be at. We are safe. I believe in that - and I believe it will continue to be the place where great futures start," said Pearson.

Statement from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui has learned that a staff member violated Club policy by posting unauthorized video messages of Club members on social media. Upon learning of this incident, the Club took immediate action. The staff member has been terminated, the parents of the minors whose messages were posted are being notified of the incident, and the videos were removed from the social channel. The employee's actions do not reflect the mission, goals and opinions of this organization. The employee was acting totally on her own without approval of the leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Maui and was in violation and contrary to the clear policies of this organization. The protection of the children we serve is the number one priority of the Boys & Girls Clubs. Our organization is committed to the highest standards of ethical behavior and integrity, and does not tolerate inappropriate activity on the part of any Club staff, volunteer or youth member.

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