Another standout athlete files suit against Punahou, alleging sexual assault

Another standout athlete files suit against Punahou, alleging sexual assault
Punahou School, Hawaii. (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former Hawaii basketball standout Shawna-Lei Kuehu has joined at least four other Punahou student-athlete alumni who have filed lawsuits against the school alleging sexual misconduct by a former basketball coach.

Kuehu’s lawsuit, filed Friday in Circuit Court, claims coach Dwayne Yuen began grooming her for future sexual advances during her freshman year on the Buffanblu basketball team ― and that he sexually assaulted her at some point in 2006.

The repeated sexual assaults ‘terrified’ Kuehu, who says she was afraid that reporting her coach for misconduct would result in the loss of her basketball scholarship at Punahou, according to the lawsuit.

News of Kuehu’s lawsuit comes just a day after allegations against the same coach were brought forth in a lawsuit by Bellator world champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

That suit, like Kuehu’s, accuses Punahou of gross negligence in their failure to protect the girls from Yuen, whom the lawsuit calls a ‘sexual predator.’

Kuehu, who attended Punahou between 2004 and 2008 and was twice named the state’s top girls basketball player, says in the lawsuit that she was forced repeatedly to deal with manipulations, unwanted advances, grooming, and sexual assaults.

The suit also claims that Punahou swept complaints under the rug when brought to their attention.

In a statement released earlier this week by the school after Macfarlane’s suit, Punahou said, “We are deeply troubled by reports of sexual abuse raised by three former students. The reports allege abuse from 2004-2005 by Dwayne Yuen, a former girls basketball coach at our school. We are currently investigating these reports and are committed to working with the survivors to find resolution and healing.”

The statement continued, “In no uncertain terms, Punahou stands with survivors of sexual abuse everywhere, and we respect the courage it takes to report these incidents.”

After Kuehu had ended her playing career at Punahou, the lawsuit claims that Yuen “continued to exhibit the behaviors of a stalker obsessed” with Kuehu even after she graduated Punahou and went on to play in college.

This story may be updated.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.