Thursday, June 16, 2005

"I've told my mom I don't want her walking to the store. It's a sad situation."

Ryan Souza
Son of Hale Mahaolu resident

In this Kahului neighborhood, a 78-year-old woman was raped Tuesday, and an 87-year-old woman was raped in her house on May 30.

Elderly women
raped in Kahului

Two recent attacks leave
women afraid to go out in
the town's largest senior project

KAHULUI » Women are on edge in the heart of Kahului, where two elderly women have been raped in a 1.5-mile radius in two weeks.

Peggy Kaina, who lives at a nearby Hale Mahaolu elderly assistance project in Kahului, said she now carries a whistle on her walks. "I'm kind of afraid of walking outside," she said.


Some residents are upset at the heinous crimes against seniors, who are changing their routines and taking precautions. Kaina is taking walks during the daytime because "I don't think he'll do anything with cars coming by."

Police Lt. Glenn Cuomo said detectives are looking into whether the same man committed the two assaults. "We're actively working on this," Cuomo said.

A 78-year-old woman was taking a stroll outside Hale Mahaolu, near Wakea and Hina avenues, between 5:30 and 5:45 a.m. Tuesday when she was pulled into a brush area and raped, Cuomo said.

The woman, a resident at Hale Mahaolu, was treated for scratches and bruises and released from Maui Memorial Medical Center.

Cuomo said an 87-year-old woman was raped in the bedroom of her house about 1.5 miles away at 3 a.m. May 30.

Cuomo said the man broke a window to enter the house and took her handbag containing cash and other items.

Hale Mahaolu, a nonprofit housing corporation subsidized by the federal government, has the largest elderly-assistance housing area in Kahului, with two projects at Hina and Wakea avenues serving an estimated 345 people.

Ryan Souza, whose parents live at Hale Mahaolu, said there have been incidents in the last 10 years of trespassing on Hale Mahaolu property and people exposing themselves in a nearby park.

"I've told my mom I don't want her walking to the store," said Souza, who was delivering groceries during a visit yesterday. "It's a sad situation."

Roy Katsuda, executive director of Hale Mahaolu, said the problem with an exhibitionist in the park occurred about five years ago and has been resolved.

Katsuda said people, mainly youths, sometimes go through the property as a short cut to get to a public park. He said Hale Mahaolu officials encourage the youths to use other routes.

"Most are really respectful. They don't intend any harm," he said.

Katsuda said the attack occurred outside the property, but his housing officials are looking at ways to improve security, such as trimming back hedges.

He encouraged people not to walk alone and to carry a walking stick.

"It's too bad we have predators out there," he said. "We're heartbroken that this lady was assaulted."

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