Kamehameha Schools CEO issues apology in sex abuse case

Kamehameha Schools CEO issues apology in sex abuse case
Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 1:32 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2017 at 5:37 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong on Friday issued an apology to the victims of a psychiatrist accused in a decades-old sexual abuse case.

"Truly, this represents the very darkest days for an institution charged with caring for and educating the most innocent among us, our keiki," Wong said, in an email statement to the school's community.

Over nearly three decades, from 1958 to 1985, Dr. Robert Browne sexually abused boys at Kamehameha Schools, victims say, and the school has acknowledged, and he made clear to them that they had to keep quiet about the assaults.

Dozens of victims have since come forward, telling similar stories, even 50 years later, about being driven by school employees to Dr. Browne's office at St. Francis Hospital and being sexually assaulted on a weekly basis – often for years.

The victims are now preparing for a courtroom battle against Kamehameha Schools and the hospital next year. They say they're pursuing the lawsuit because they want accountability.

"I think it's a little late in coming. I believe this could have been done a long time ago," said victim Gerald Carrell.

"We spent years in infamy. Years in anonymity and in shame and all of that could have been avoided."

In an emailed statement, attorneys for Carrell and the other victims said the "34 men who brought these lawsuits against Kamehameha Schools did so, not only to address their own wounds, but also to change the culture at Kamehameha Schools -- from arrogance and protection of the institution to transparency and protection of the children."

They added, "The apology issued today is fifty years late, but it is recognition of what the school historically has ignored and represents the first step towards accountability and reconciliation."

The victims, who first filed a lawsuit three years ago, say Kamehameha Schools failed to protect them and then covered up the years of sexual abuse, instead of trying to determine how many people Browne abused and whether they needed support.

"As we recount some 130 years of pride and accomplishment by Native Hawaiians, no one — neither the Schools, nor the community — was prepared for the horrific revelation that our precious haumana were secretly abused and physically and emotionally traumatized," Wong said in the email. "And, after abuses were reported, not nearly enough was done."

Here's the Kamehameha Schools email distributed on Friday: 


Hawaii News Now also has a three-part series on the Kamehameha Schools sex abuse scandal. 
Part One: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse victims: 'Monster' stole our childhoods
Part Two:  'Cover-up' added to pain, Kamehameha School sex abuse victims say
Part Three: Victims: Kamehameha Schools sex abuse suit is about accountability

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