EXCLUSIVE: Principal's cover-up of alleged sex assault scandal expands

EXCLUSIVE: Principal's cover-up of alleged sex assault scandal expands
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A recently-released special investigator's report on sex assaults at the Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind provides chilling accounts of the way children were being treated and how the school's principal allegedly tried to cover up the scandal.

But attorneys for the victims said attempts to downplay or hush-up sex assault allegations aren't limited to the Kapahulu campus.

"We see case after case of abuse coming out. This just happens to be one of the more flagrant ones," said attorney Eric Seitz, who along with lawyer Michael Green has represented dozens of victims at the Deaf and Blind School.

"It's a horrendous scandal, there are so many instances of abuse now in the Department of Education that I don't see how anybody can stand by and not believe that there needs to be more accountability."

One lawsuit by the mother of a mentally disabled girl alleges that school officials at the Deaf and Blind School and McKinley High School covered up how her daughter was sexually assaulted by students at both schools.

In a deposition, a McKinley teacher told the woman's lawyers Eric Ferrer and Susan Dorsey that he was aware of rumors that the girl was having sex in the school bathrooms. But he admitted that he did not tell her mother nor did he tell the principal.

Two of the alleged perpetrators at McKinley are now in prison for sexually assaulting other women.

"They allowed the abuse and they themselves were the abuser and they take no responsibility for it," the mother has said.

The DOE declined to talk about the cases but said that teachers and administrators are trained to report sex assault cases immediately.

"We take all matters of children safety seriously," said Donalyn Dela Cruz, the DOE's director of communications.

If the state loses this case, taxpayers could be on the hook for millions of dollars.

Taxpayers have already paid $5.75 million to settle the deaf and blind school case.

And they're on the hook for another $800,000 to the family of an autistic girl who was sexually assaulted at Waianae High School. In that case, the school denied that the assaults even occurred but a federal jury rejected that argument.

"The Board of Education has never spoken out about these events and has never done anything to address them. And I think it creates a culture where they feel they can get away with anything," Seitz said.

To see the investigator's report, click here.

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