Lawmaker: Number of sex offenders registered to parks is ‘shocking’

Lawmaker: Number of sex offenders registered to parks is 'shocking'

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Shocking.

That's what one state lawmaker called news that dozens of convicted sex offenders are registered to live in Oahu parks and beaches.

An HNN investigation found sex offenders registered to parks from the urban core to Windward Oahu.

"It was really shocking," said state Rep. Scott Nishimoto, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Nishimoto said sex predators should not be living in parks.

"This is something that wasn't really public and people really didn't know about. And now that they do they're definitely going to be concerned," he said.

The state Attorney General's Office, which maintains the registry, says it doesn't keep data on homeless sex offenders.

But HNN did a line-by-line search of the sex offender registry and found 28 sex offenders across Oahu who've listed their home address as a neighborhood park or beach.

Unlike other states, Hawaii does not restrict where a registered offender can live. There are also no laws that prevent them from hanging out near schools, child care or parks.

To see whether there are any registered sex offenders in parks near you, click here.

If a person doesn't have a street address, they're required to provide a description of where they live.

"That's the way the law is written," said Hawai Public Defender Jack Tonaki. "It can present problems but under the current system that's what we're dealing with."

Court documents reveal that several of the sex offenders who are registered to live in parks are actually there, at least some of the time.

James Yoon's home address is listed as Old Stadium Park. In 1998, he was found guilty of third-degree sex assault and kidnapping.

Court records show he's had more than 70 cases between 2014 and June of this year. The majority are for park citations.

HNN also found multiple park violation citations for convicted rapist Abraham Kumukahi at his home address Aala Park.

In 2015, he was also arrested for an assault near the park. According to the police report, he punched a man in the face 10 times for sitting in his seat.

Those charges were dismissed when prosecutors couldn't find a witness.

Nishimoto said he plans to take up the issue in the upcoming legislative session.

"it will be high on the priority list," he said.

HNN also received a statement from Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell about park safety: "State law created the current situation, but the city is committed to keeping our parks safe for our residents and visitors. We are in the process of better securing our parks, and anyone who feels threatened by an individual or group of individuals should immediately call police."

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.