Her father died when she was 4. She says the ‘Manoa Rapist’ shares the blame

A woman whose father committed suicide in 1998 blames the so-called "Manoa Rapist" for his death.
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 9:50 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 29, 2023 at 1:12 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A woman who lost her father to suicide when she was barely 4 years old says the so-called “Manoa Rapist” is to blame for his death.

“He was a ‘John’ that lived in Manoa, and was at Manoa Shopping Center when one of the victims that came forward and said that it was a ‘John’ that was the rapist,” said Jeni Onizuka.

Onizuka’s father was John Date, who was arrested and jailed as the suspected Manoa Rapist.

“I don’t know how long my dad was in prison, but I assume in the ‘80s, there wasn’t much protection from a rapist, or accused rapist for that matter,” she said.

Date, who was 19 at the time, spent about three months behind bars before police arrested John Freudenberg, who ultimately pleaded guilty to 36 crimes, including rape, sodomy, sex abuse and burglary.

Onizuka said the state apologized and paid Date an undisclosed monetary settlement.

“Yes, he did some good with the money,” Onizuka said.

“He bought the family home in Manoa and all this stuff, but ultimately it was his decline because whatever money was left was put to drugs and alcohol.”

Onizuka said she was just days shy of her fourth birthday when Date committed suicide in 1998. She says Freudenberg shares the blame.

“Yes, my dad took his own life, but I feel like John gave him the rope. He gave him the mental illness. He gave him the drug addictions to take his own life.”

Freudenberg was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, and has pleaded for his release every year since his minimum sentence ended in 1996.

“I did plead guilty to my crimes,” Freudenberg said at a Hawaii Paroling Authority hearing in 2013. “I too responsibility as I was charged because I thought that was the right thing to do.”

But he was rejected every time, until this year. The Paroling Authority said Freudenberg, now 64, successfully completed all treatment programs and his attorney said he’ll wear an electronic monitor and must be in close contact with his parole officer.

“If someone completes a sex offender program, then they have less than a three percent chance of recidivism,” said attorney Myles Breiner.

“And that’s not a statistic that I’m making up as a defense attorney. That is a statistic that is commonly known and embraced by the Department of Justice as well as the State of Hawaii.”

Onizuka is upset that she didn’t get a say.

“It’s not right for me not to be considered in this deliberation, in this consideration, because ultimately my father took his life, potentially because of this man.”