Former foster kids sue parents and state over abuses

Updated: Apr. 26, 2020 at 5:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Three former foster children have come forward with shocking new allegations of abuse at a Waimanalo home.

In a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court last week, the three unnamed plaintiffs allege that another sibling sexually molested them for years and that their parents looked the other way.

“This was for all intents and purposes a house of horrors for these children,” said Randall Rosenberg, their attorney.

“They used the foster children as slave labor... They had a lock on the refrigerator. They starved these kids.”

One of the foster parents — Jolyn Kipapa ― was killed in 2014 by her foster son Kaanoi Kipapa, who was 16 at the time. During his sentencing last year, he said:

“I was so broken, so damaged that I didn’t know what else to do. I will forever be sorry for what I had done,” said Kaanoi Kipapa, who is now serving a ten-year sentence for manslaughter and is not part of the civil suit.

“Looking back on today, she didn’t deserve to die, let alone the way I killed her.”

Jolyn Kaanoi has often been described as a loving and caring parent, who took in many troubled children. But Rosenberg has a different view.

He said the foster parents often forced his clients to work for free for their family’s business, which had a city contract to clean Sherwood Beach.

Rosenberg said the couple also took in another foster child, who wound up molesting his clients for years.

“(They) were aware of the sexual abuse and allowed it to continue," Rosenberg said.

Reached by phone, the former foster father said he was shocked by the allegations but declined comment.

The Department of Human Services, which was named in the suit, also had no response. According to Rosenberg, the state is investigating.

Rosenberg said the state is liable because it placed his clients in the home and because it did not investigate the alleged abuses when one of the foster children reported them to a social worker.

The suit alleges that the social worker, who is now retired, told the girl that she was “lying.”

It also alleged that the former state employee developed a close relationship with the couple and accused him of “funneling additional foster children” to them to increase their "monthly stipend.”

The suit seeks general and special damages to be proven at trial.

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