HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In an emotional sentencing hearing Friday, the mother of a girl sexually assaulted by a former Kamehameha Schools faculty member said her daughter had “lost so much” and will never be the same.
“This man has taken so much from her,” said the victim’s mother at the hearing for former assistant band Director James Maeda, who pleaded guilty in September to multiple counts of second- and third-degree sex assault.
“I hope and pray that she will one day feel whole again. This man was supposed to be teaching my daughter. I told her that teachers had her best interest at heart. He knew what he was doing."
She added, through tears, “I worry that the nightmares won’t end. I worry that she may never trust again.”
Under a plea deal, Maeda got 10 years behind bars.
Maeda was arrested in February 2018. Court documents said the sexual assaults started in June 2017, when Maeda’s student was 14.
The victim subsequently told police that Maeda had sexually assaulted her multiple times at the Kapalama campus and at Maeda’s home. The two also had sex at her home when her parents weren’t there.
In court, Maeda apologized to the victim and her family.
“I completely regret my actions and wish I can take them back not because of the consequences I will be facing but because of the unintended consequences my victim has and will face," he said.
Circuit Court Judge Faauuga Tootoo told Maeda that he had abused his position of authority.
“You were supposed to shape her life, not break her down,” he said. “You didn’t care about the consequences. You abused your authority as a teacher.”
Ayla Weiss, the prosecutor who handled the case, said the girl’s parents thought she was receiving an important opportunity to attend Kamehameha Schools but “now they know it’s nothing but a nightmare.”
She said school officials initially mishandled the case.
“When they initially learned about any allegations of an inappropriate sexual relationship ... rather than investigating, they immediately jumped to conclusions and made the victim apologize to her perpetrator," Weiss said.
Authorities said they found out about the relationship after the victim’s mother found inappropriate texts on the girl’s phone.
“The text messages I saw between them will forever be etched in my brain," the victim’s mother said. “The disgusting things I read that he choked her, touched her and covered her mouth and how he hurt her."
“He wanted her to call him daddy.”
Kamehameha Schools said its initial actions were based on incorrect information that it had received at the time. It said it reopened its investigation and later fired Maeda after getting more accurate reports of Maeda’s conduct.
“We deeply regret the hurt that our student and her family endured due to Mr. Maeda’s actions," the school said. “Kamehameha Schools takes all accusations of abuse and violence very seriously.”