Kamehameha Schools faculty member charged with sexually assaulting student pleads not guilty
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Kamehameha Schools assistant band director accused of sexually assaulting a student pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.
James Maeda, 23, allegedly assaulted the 14-year-old girl on multiple occasions.
He's charged with nine counts of first-degree sex assault and one count of third-degree sex assault and is free on $450,000 bail.
Maeda was arrested last week after the victim's mother checked her daughter's phone and found evidence indicating inappropriate behavior.
Maeda is as an assistant band director at the Kapalama campus. Sources say the girl is believed to have been 14 at the time of the alleged assault.
According to police sources, the teen disclosed multiple counts of sexual assault between last June up until this month.
Kamehameha Schools has acknowledged the incident in an open letter.
The school says it is fully cooperating with the police investigation.
Read the full letter sent to faculty and families below:
"Aloha mai kakou, I wanted to alert you to a difficult and sensitive situation on our High School Campus here at Kapalama.
As we have been heightening awareness about the safety of our haumana especially preventing, identifying, and reporting sexual abuse through strengthening our procedures, increasing training, and working to give students a stronger voice, we anticipate learning of additional incidences of abuse. We want all victims to feel safe to speak up, so that we can support them and learn how to better keep current and future students safe.
I recently learned about an alleged inappropriate relationship between a faculty member and one of our students. After receiving information pertaining to the allegation, the faculty member was immediately placed on indefinite administrative leave and we are cooperating fully with the Honolulu Police Department in its investigation.
To respect the privacy of our students and avoid interfering with the police investigation, we are limited in the information we can share at this time. Any behavior that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of our students, which includes by the predator or by any employee who fails to appropriately report suspected abuse, is completely unacceptable. I not only join the entire community in demanding more of us, I hold myself responsible for the safety of Kapalama students.
Kamehameha Schools does not tolerate inappropriate or abusive behavior of any kind. We are committed to the physical, mental and emotional safety and well-being of our students, spearheaded by the enterprise Malama Ola division. We encourage you and your children to let us know if you experience or witness anything that may be harmful to your child or anyone else through the Hi'ikua Help Line at 1-844-284-2640, or clicking on this link.
And as always I want you to feel safe and comfortable in sharing your mana'o with me or any KSK administrator or faculty member. I want to reaffirm my utmost dedication to the safety and well-being of our keiki. The safety of your keiki is our highest priority and we will always make time to work together to create a pu'uhonua for them to feel safe and thrive.
Mahalo a nui loa,
Dr. Taran Chun, Ed.D
Po'o Kula, Kamehameha Schools Kapalama"
The allegations came to light just days after Kamehameha Schools settled a massive sexual abuse case for $80 million following years of abuse by a school psychiatrist.
This story will be updated.
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