No deal: Settlement talks continue in Kamehameha Schools sex abuse case
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A self imposed deadline of 4 p.m. Thursday passed without a deal between Kamehameha Schools and sex abuse survivors.
The two sides had hoped to reach a deal before one of the mediators, Paul Finn, had to leave for the mainland. When a settlement wasn't reached, the attorneys agreed to continue talking over the next two weeks
About 100 people, including the victims, their families and lawyers and Kamehameha Schools' trustees and its CEO, met at Circuit Court on Wednesday to begin the mediation process.
Finn, who mediated many of the sex abuse claims against priests in Boston, and former Circuit Judge Victoria Marks, are the mediators.
"We've put some substantial offers on the table that we think and hope will … bring closure and allow the healing to begin," said school Trustee Micah Kane on Wednesday.
"We hurt and feel for the victims and what they've gone through. We recognize that while this happened 40 years ago, time doesn't heal and we as a board and organization have a commitment to bring closure."
The trust won't say exactly how much they're offering and it's unclear if the amount is enough for the survivors.
But it's the first sign in months that both sides are moving to resolve claims by the former students, now in their 50s and 60s, who said they were sexually abused by high-profile psychiatrist Robert Browne, a longtime consultant for the private school.
"Generally, there has been an acknowledgment by Kamehameha about the wrongdoing that occurred in the past and they have made commitments to the entire community that they want to do what's pono in this case," said Mark Davis, attorney for the victims.
The victims are suing the $8 billion trust and St. Francis Hospital, claiming damages for both the abuse and the lack of action by the institutions once the abuse was suspected.
"We've been on this emotional roller coaster for the past four years already and for me it's time to have some closure. For me it's time to have the scales balance out," said Haleiwa resident Alika Bajo, who was sexually assaulted by Browne.
Another victim, Gerald Carrell, said he's pessimistic a deal will be struck.
"Right now, I have no expectations. I can be honest about that. I've heard a lot of words. I've had a lot of promises broken to me by Kamehameha Schools, St. Francis," he said. "To be honest, we felt like were in exile for 40 years, just coming back was torture."
If both sides cannot reach a deal by the end of the month, the case will go to trial, which is scheduled for this summer.
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