Friday, May 22, 1998

By Ken Ige, Star-Bulletin
Howell "Chinky" Mahoe Jr., right, and attorney David Gierlach
were in court yesterday but sentencing was postponed.

Victim’s mom
resents Mahoe’s

The latest delay means
kumu hula Chinky Mahoe won't
be sentenced until September

By Linda Hosek


The mother of a boy sexually assaulted by hula teacher Howell "Chinky" Mahoe Jr. is angry that Mahoe will go unpunished for another four months, following a third delay in sentencing.

"He did the crime," she said yesterday after Circuit Judge Wilfred Watanabe postponed Mahoe's sentencing until Sept. 24. "He should pay for it and not travel around and not have fun."

She said the four boys Mahoe sexually assaulted were the ones "locked up" in their own emotional prisons, unable to heal until the court concludes the case.

Mahoe, 43, pleaded no contest in September to five felony counts of third-degree sexual assault and one misdemeanor count of fourth-degree sexual assault.

The state indicted him last May, alleging he fondled each boy -- age 9 through 14 -- on separate occasions from a couple of months to more than a year between 1994 and 1996.

Previous sentencing hearings were set for March 4 and April 23. The state asked for the first delay to enable a witness to testify and Mahoe asked for the second because his attorney was in trial in a separate courtroom.

"I don't want to be so angry," the victim's mother added, surrounded by supporters. "But our boys want to go on with their lives."

David Gierlach, Mahoe's attorney, said yesterday's delay was due to a "procedural matter," but declined to discuss it.

He also said neither he nor the prosecutor asked for the delay, but said he agreed with the court's decision to do it.

"He (Mahoe) is continuing to teach and tour," Gierlach said about his client. "He's doing just fine."

Mahoe and his hula troupe, Halau Hula O Kawaili'ula, are scheduled to perform tomorrow at the Makaha Bash '98 at the Waikiki Shell.

Gierlach said he would ask for probation for Mahoe, who is free after posting $25,250 bail. Bail conditions require that he can be around children at his classes only if another adult is present.

Deputy Prosecutor Darrell Wong also declined to explain the reason for the delay, but said he was disappointed.

He also declined to comment on whether Watanabe imposed a gag order.

"I feel for them," he said of the victims. "They need to move on with their lives."

Wong said he would ask for an extended term of 10 years, which doubles the prison time for the offense of third-degree sexual assault.

Another victim's mother said that the sentencing delays send the message that the courts are lenient on sex offenders.

She also said that she believes the court has treated Mahoe differently than other sex offenders. But she added that her main concern was for the children who continue to come to him for instruction.

"He cannot teach children," she said. "Too many people trusted him. We trusted him with all our hearts."

Based in Kailua, Mahoe is a veteran kumu hula. The male members of his troupe have won the prestigious Merrie Monarch overall crown in the Big Island hula competition.

As another bail condition, Mahoe cannot hold "sleep-overs" involving young children.

The state has said the incidents of touching and fondling occurred during the "sleep-overs" and not during Mahoe's hula classes.

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