Homeless man charged after exposing himself at Waikele Elementar - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Homeless man charged after exposing himself at Waikele Elementary

WAIKELE (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A homeless man has been charged after allegedly exposing himself in front of two eight-year-old girls at Waikele Elementary School. 

Police have charged Elijah Spriggs-Kahalewai, 21, with fourth-degree sexual assault, which is a misdemeanor.

According to officials, just before Spriggs-Kahalewai was taken into custody Wednesday, he reportedly made his way onto the Waikele Elementary School campus and into a girl's restroom near the cafeteria.

The incident happened around 3:15 p.m., when school was already out but A-Plus was still in session, and two 8-year-old girls in the after-school program were inside the bathroom. 

"Her and her friend went into the bathroom and they were wetting their hair slicking back their hair, then a man came in slammed the door locked it behind them and they both started screaming. They migrated to the corner of the bathroom and then the man signaled for them to be quiet but didn't say anything and they were screaming and he pulled down his pants and exposed himself," said Valerie Carreon, one of the girl's mothers. 

Kristy Casaus says her tearful daughter described the incident the same way.

"She and her friend had gone into the restroom and a strange man had followed them in there shortly after, and he locked the door behind him. They were of course afraid and they sort of fell to the ground in fear in a corner of the restroom where he then pulled his pants down at which point my daughter screamed and ran out," said Casaus. 

According to DOE officials, a good Samaritan -- who had followed Spriggs-Kahalewai on campus and had already called 911 to report his odd behavior -- chased the man away. 

"This man loitered in the area of the school. He was suspicious and an individual saw him and physically removed him off of the campus. It did cause a commotion -- a lot of adults were involved in making sure that they got this man and held him until police arrived," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, DOE spokeswoman.

Students were sent home with a letter informing them that "a suspicious man walked into the girl's bathroom", but no other details or allegations were mentioned. 

The parents of both third-graders say they were furious other students' families weren't informed of the details of what has clearly been a traumatizing experience for their daughters.

"You can tell it's effected her. Just from last night and this morning, she's not herself and I know that's going to come back -- but we're thankful that nothing happened worst then what did happen, but it's definitely effected her," said Jason Casaus.  

Carreon agrees. She says her daughter was so upset she wasn't even able to go to school today.

"It was really disturbing to me that they didn't say exactly what happened and the severity of what happened. It made it sound so nonchalant like some guy just walked into the bathroom. It didn't stress how traumatic it was for the girls and what a bigger deal it really is," said Carreon.

"It really seems like everything is trying to be downplayed and I just feel like everybody should be aware so we can protect our children, because if we don't then who's going to do it?" said Casaus.

DOE officials say their notification is appropriate for the situation.

"Whether or not he exposed himself is unknown. He did however, enter the girl's restroom. That's what we do know and that's what we want parents to know," said Dela Cruz. "What we care about is the safety of our students. The fact that the man got out - that's what matters to us. That he got arrested and police responded, that's what matters to us. So in regards to putting out the letter to parents today, it will include details that we are aware of." 

Hawaii News Now has learned Spriggs-Kahalewai has been reported for indecency and exposure both on and off the school grounds several times. 

Craig Tauyan has called police about him 3 times -- the first was in 2014 when Spriggs-Kahalewai started touching himself in front of Tauyan's wife while she was walking their dog around campus. Tauyan says the Waikele Community Association has sent out several emails detailing incidents in which Spriggs-Kahalewai had been seen behaving inappropriately. He says each time the police are called and Spriggs-Kahalewai is taken away, he just ends up coming back to the area because the crimes he's accused of -- petty theft, indecency, trespassing -- don't keep him locked away for long. 

"This man has obviously shown himself to be a danger both to himself and others. It's very unfortunate that it had to come to this point that he actually committed a crime and violated those poor children. I just wish there was something that could be done to pull him off the streets earlier, because like I said it's not the first time we've had to call the police on him," said Tauyan.

On Thursday, Spriggs-Kahalewai was being held on $500 bail.

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