EXCLUSIVE: Misconduct alleged in undercover massage parlor sting
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An undercover sting at a Keeaumoku massage parlor could wind up backfiring on Honolulu Police.
Police arrested a 41-year-old woman at the VIP Lounge for prostitution back in February but only after the vice officer said he engaged in sexual activity with the woman.
Officer Paul Goo said in a written statement that the woman, Siriporn Nilsawit, "wiped his genital area" with a wash cloth and that she "began to kiss his chest and neck area while fondling his genitals."
But her attorney Myles Breiner said the officer did more than he admitted in his report.
"She came back in and he was already lying on a massage bed masturbating," said Breiner, whose client denies that she engaged in prostitution.
"It takes a lot of talent to be that stupid."
This comes after an embarrassing few months for the HPD, which asked lawmakers for a legal exemption to allow undercover officers to have sex with prostitutes.
"It's as though it's one of the perquisites of the office, one of the benefits of being a police officer on morals details is that you get to have sex with a (suspected) prostitute before you arrest her," Breiner said.
An assistant chief claimed that doesn't happen but that the exemption was needed as a tool for investigations.
"They never have sex with prostitutes. We have never authorized that. They never will," HPD Assistant Chief Susan Dowsett told Hawaii News Now in March.
"Anyone who has alleged that has occurred is absolutely encouraged to come forward."
In a statement issued to Hawaii News Now, HPD said that in reviewing Goo's report "no violation was committed."
Under Hawaii law, prostitution arrests only require that an agreement be made on a price. Any physical contact is unnecessary to make an arrest.
According to his arrest report, Officer Goo said the prostitution solicitation came in the following exchange with the suspect:
Suspect: Are you ready to #@%k?
Officer: Is it going to cost me extra?"
Suspect: It is one hundred fifty dollars to #@%k.
Officer: Is that all, one hundred and fifty?
But Breiner said his client -- who has no criminal record -- never offered to have sex for money, even though the officer attempted several times get his client to name a price for sex.
"It would seem that police were looking to generate an arrest where one was not necessary or based upon facts," he said.
Activist Kathryn Xian said the HPD has several internal misconduct cases involving prostitution stings. And she said that the officer didn't have to engage in sexual activity in making the arrest.
"We're aware of case where police have been disciplined for sexually assaulting prostituted victims or violating them in other ways," she said.
"We can't afford to have our law enforcement officers that represent justice step over boundaries sexually in order to establish a misdemeanor prostitution offense."
Officer Goo is expected to be in District Court tomorrow morning to testify about what's in his arrest report. If he doesn't, the case against the woman could be dismissed.
Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.