MMA star accuses Punahou School of retaliation after sex abuse lawsuit

MMA star accuses Punahou School of retaliation after sex abuse lawsuit
Punahou School (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - There’s more shakeups happening at Punahou School after high-profile women athletes have come forward saying they were sexually abused by their former coach.

Now, one of the women says her father is being retaliated against.

"We actually just found out today that they fired my dad," said Mixed Martial Arts star Ilima-Lei Macfarlane.

Macfarlane says her father, Walter Macfarlane, has been proctor at Punahou for decades.

“For them to fire him today basically through a text message was pretty just, OK, now we see how they feel about the survivors,” Ilima-Lei said.

In a statement Punahou said, “One of our employees acted in error and without authorization. Walter has worked as a proctor for us for the past 23 years and we are very happy to have him continue in this role.”

Walter issued a statement of his own saying there was no misunderstanding.

“Today I was informed directly by Punahou School that I was no longer welcome to continue my work with student testing classes at Punahou which is work I’ve been doing for the last 30 years. There was no misunderstanding as to what I was told by Punahou as I was told in no uncertain terms that I can’t work there anymore. My daughters were courageous in coming forward after they were sexually abused at Punahou School and now Punahou School is coming after me. This is all very sad....”

Ilima and others have recently filed lawsuits against their former basketball coach, Dwayne Yuen, saying he sexually abused them when they were students at Punahou School.

The lawsuit also claims that the school’s administrators swept complaints under the rug.

"I don't need the money, I don't want the money, and the money was never ever what I wanted. What I wanted was for people to know the truth and for Dwayne Yuen and Punahou to pay for what they did," said Ilima-Lei.

Punahou says all current employees identified in the lawsuits will be put on paid leave.

University of Hawaii basketball standout and Punahou alum Shawna-Lei Kuehu, who also filed a lawsuit against Yuen and the school, said the decision to keep these employees on payroll is devastating.

“Punahou’s decision to allow certain administrators, faculty and staff within knowledge of sex abuse problems to remain employed is disappointing,” said Kuehu. “It is devastating to see administrators responsible for these sex abuse problems receiving protection and financial support from the school."

“Dwayne Yuen, you messed with the wrong group of girls and now we are all strong women,” said Ilima-Lei. “Your time is up.”

Punahou President Michael Latham has promised transparency and elevated standards through the lawsuit.

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