Attorneys for quarterback Jayden de Laura break silence on settlement stemming from sex assault allegations
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The attorneys for former Saint Louis School football star Jayden de Laura have issued a statement regarding the civil court case involving sex assault allegations from 2018.
The statement was sent to media outlets in Arizona earlier this week and provided to Hawaii News Now on Friday morning after a copy was requested.
Thomas Otake, de Laura’s juvenile case attorney, and Philip Miyoshi, the player’s civil attorney, said “certain media outlets” have reported “inaccurate” information and “have inflicted unnecessary duress and reputational harm to numbers individuals and entities.”
De Laura, is currently the starting quarterback for the University of Arizona.
Former Hawaii high school football stars settle civil lawsuit over sex assault case
The statement goes on to say “reports that Jayden pled guilty and was convicted of sexual assault are not accurate.”
Multiple versions of the civil lawsuit allege that de Laura and former St. Louis School teammate Kamoi Latu did plead guilty to accusations from a then, 16-year old girl, who said the boys forced her to perform sex acts and choked her during the assault in the school’s parking garage stairwell.
The documents filed in the civil case on December 2021 specifically said the players “were charged with and eventually pled guilty to sex assault 2″.
The same language was repeated in the first amended complaint filed in August 2022. And again in a second amended complaint in November 2022. The same line was also in the third amended complaint from March of this year.
It was included in a pre-trial statement filed with the court earlier this this month that also said a settlement was reached between the boys and the victim.
Juvenile court records are sealed so Hawaii News Now could not independently view the language used in those proceedings but legal experts, who were not involved with this case, say the terms are different from adult criminal cases.
“A juvenile is never convicted, or found guilty. Instead, they are adjudicated,” said Victor Bakke, a former deputy prosecutor turned defense attorney, who has handled multiple juvenile cases.
“And they don’t enter a plea of guilty, they either admit or they deny, but at the end of the day, it ends up at the same place,” Bakke said the juvenile case ends with either adjudication, which means the teen was found responsible for the alleged acts, or ends with the petition being dismissed.
LINK: Hawaii juvenile court proceedings
“It says a lot about the boys if their case was eventually dismissed,” Bakke said if that happened he would expect the de Laura legal team to be announcing that.
“If I was them, I would be the first one to be saying, ‘hey, wait a minute, you know, that case ended up being dismissed!”
Another former deputy prosecutor turned defense attorney Megan Kau agreed that adjudicated is the word used when a juvenile is found to have committed the alleged acts.
“We use these terms so that there’s no actual guilty verdict or guilty decision,” Kau said the juvenile system gives teens a clean slate once they become adults and that’s why only law enforcement and the courts can access the records.
The statement from de Laura’s attorneys does not use either term adjudicated or dismissed and the statement does not deny the sex assault allegations from the civil lawsuit.
There is a non-disclosure agreement that is part of the settlement.
The statement does say de Laura “chose to resolve (the civil case) quickly, with no admission of guilt, so he could focus on his academic and athletic career”.
Kamoi Latu’s attorney, Michael Green said when the first story aired on Hawaii News Now, that his client also chose to resolve the case so that all sides could move forward.
The University of Arizona said in a statement that de Laura did not violate any school policies and remains part of the team.
The University of Wisconsin provided a similar statement regarding Latu.
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