State to pay out $450K to man who alleged DOE officer sexually assaulted him in 1970s

The state has agreed to pay $450,000 to the former Highlands Intermediate School student.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 4:48 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2023 at 9:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has agreed to pay $450,000 to a man who says he was sexually assaulted by a campus security officer at Highlands Intermediate School in the 1970s.

The victim, now in his 50s, alleged that the Pearl City school’s former campus police officer Joseph Moisa sexually assaulted him in 1977 at the school’s security office, in a storage room and at a school event.

He’s one of five former Highlands students who have come forward with allegations that Moisa molested them.

“He was intimidating. He would physically abuse them through punching,” said attorney Mark Gallagher, who represents the victim.

“There’s been testimony of a survivor that said that Moisa would bring him into the office and bang his head against the wall while he was disciplining him for misbehavior — and then proceed to sexually assault him.”

The state Attorney General’s office told state lawmakers that the alleged sex abuse happened so long ago that it didn’t have the evidence to refute the allegations.

The state also said it wanted to avoid a bigger verdict if the case went to trial.

The settlement requires the approval of state legislators.

Moisa left the school in the late 1970s and moved to the mainland, where he died.

Of the five victims who have sued, Gallagher represents two of them. Another law firm presents the remaining three victims. Suits filed by the four other victims are still pending.

Gallagher said there are still more victims out there who haven’t come forward yet.