High-ranking Maui police officer investigated for sexual assault

High-ranking Maui police officer investigated for sexual assault
Published: Sep. 13, 2017 at 10:27 PM HST|Updated: Sep. 13, 2017 at 10:41 PM HST
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Captain Stephen Orikasa (courtesy: MPD)
Captain Stephen Orikasa (courtesy: MPD)

WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Maui Police Department has launched a sexual assault investigation into one of its own.

The high-ranking officer is accused of assaulting one of his female sergeants.

Attorney David Sereno said he expects his client, Capt. Stephen Orikasa, to be charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree, which is a misdemeanor.

Sereno said his client is innocent and they will be demanding a jury trial to prove it.

"He gave a statement, he has cooperated. We look forward to defending him in this case and clearing him of these allegations," said Sereno.

Sources said the alleged assault happened in the workplace last month with no one around.

Criminal defense attorney Myles Breiner confirmed the allegations with his sources, who are close to the investigation.

Breiner said these cases are difficult to prove and circumstantial.

"What kind of relationship did they have? Did they have the type of friendship that simply a pat on the back, a slap on the butt, any minor touching would have been appropriate, depending on the nature of the relationship?" said Breiner.

Orikasa began his career as a Maui police officer in 1991. He was promoted to captain in 2014 and became the head of the Criminal Investigation Division. He is in charge of all criminal investigations including sex assaults. Orikasa oversees 45 people and the alleged victim is one of them.

Sources said after the incident, the alleged victim confronted her boss and he confessed, unaware she had a hidden microphone recording the conversation.

Breiner said that could be illegal and thrown out in court.

"Possible entrapment issues, there are certain suppression issues. We don't know the circumstances. For example, was she already in consultation with the prosecutor's office or someone in her department who was investigating this and instructed her to get a taped statement," Breiner said.

Police sources said initially the department moved the alleged victim to a different district.

It wasn't until Hawaii News Now sent an email to the department asking about the allegations, the captain was then moved. Sources said the department created a new position for him there — captain of technical support services.

Sources also said the woman officer's complaint is being investigated by MPD Internal Affairs and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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