Kapolei guidance counselor released pending sex crimes investigation

Kapolei guidance counselor released pending sex crimes investigation

KAPOLEI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kapolei High counselor arrested on suspicion of soliciting a minor for prostitution was released Thursday, pending an investigation.

Kendrick Padilla, 39, declined to comment when asked about the allegations.

The guidance counselor was arrested around lunchtime Tuesday at Kapolei High.

Legal experts say the fact that he was released without being charged doesn't mean police don't have a case.

"That in no way has any bearing on the merits of the case and charges can still be and usually are filed at a later date through the grand jury process," said defense attorney Victor Bakke.

The state Department of Education has placed Padilla on paid leave until further notice.

One lawmaker says she's troubled by how DOE and police handled the arrest.

State Rep. Sharon Har, whose district includes Kapolei, said police who arrested Padilla wouldn't tell the school's principal why the counselor was taken in.

HPD confirms that's standard protocol.

The lawmaker says it's a policy that needs changing.

"Obviously, the allegations are extremely serious in nature and if they are found to be true, absolutely egregious," Har said. "We feel those charges should have been explained to the principal at that time. But that said, the principal did follow protocol and contact the Department of Education."

DOE officials confirm they got word of the on-campus arrest Tuesday, but they chose not to alert parents until Thursday. A letter was posted on the school's website.

Parents also got word Thursday that Padilla's students will be working with different counselors.

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