Man who spent years behind bars for crime he didn’t commit sues city, claiming racial bias
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A former Navy man wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for child sex assault is now suing the city, the law enforcement officers who prosecuted him, and his accuser.
Roynes Dural II ― who spent nearly a decade behind bars ― filed a federal lawsuit claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution, wrongful conviction and imprisonment, and negligence.
His attorney, Peter Hsieh, claims racial bias was a factor in the botched investigation.
“There is sufficient basis for us to believe that our client Roynes was singled out because of his race. He’s Black and was a military serviceman who was in the Navy at that time.”
Dural’s military career was cut short in 2002, when he was accused and later convicted of sex assault.
The teen who accused him is the daughter of a woman he dated. Both mother and daughter are named in the lawsuit filed on Nov. 24.
Retired Honolulu police detective Sheryl Sunia is also a defendant.
She handled the original case. And then years later, in 2009 ― as the Hawaii Innocence Project worked to free Dural ― Sunia interviewed another man, Chad Kalawaia.
Kalawaia worked at the girl’s school in Waimanalo.
The interview was recorded and part of court records. In the recording, Kalawaia admits to Sunia that he had an inappropriate relationship with the underage girl.
“I did have sex with her,” he is heard saying, “And I’m not proud of it, I did have sex with her.”
The lawsuit claims Sunia “turned off the recording” to stop Kalawaia from further incriminating himself. The suit further alleges she was targeting Dural and Kalawaia’s confession would “undermine, if not completely destroy, her investigation.”
Also named in the lawsuit: Former deputy prosecutor Myron Takemoto. The claims are that he ignored reported confessions from another man ― the girl’s stepfather, Nathan Slutter.
The records show Slutter told the girl’s mother that he was in love with the teen.
The girl herself named Slutter in a recorded statement during a lie detector test appointment. She is seen on camera saying Slutter sexually assaulted her from the time she was 10 years old.
“He told me he wanted me to touch him when I was in the shower and I told him no,” she said.
“I just really hated him,” she continued.
That video was also done while Dural was in prison and the Hawaii Innocence Project worked to get him exonerated. The lawsuit names both Kalawaia and Slutter as defendants.
But he had already served eight years in prison and eight more on parole.
“It was devastating for him,” said Hsieh, “He not only lost his freedom, he lost his reputation and good standing in the community. He lost his career. He was on a promising path in the Navy.”
HPD and the city Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment for this report, citing the pending litigation. Former HPD detective Sunia also provided no comment.
Former deputy Prosecuting Attorney Myron Takemoto did not respond to an email.
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