Ex-coaches get separate trials
The former coaches from Lanai City face charges of providing alcohol to underage girls
A former Lanai High School girls basketball coach and his former assistant have requested separate trials on charges they provided alcohol to members of the team while on Oahu for a preseason tournament more than a year ago.
District Judge Peter Stone granted the requests by Russell Zablan and his former assistant Dale Kapua, who both appeared in Wahiawa District Court yesterday and set trial dates.
Both men, of Lanai City, are charged with seven misdemeanor counts of providing liquor to underage minors -- a misdemeanor -- between March 10 and 13, 2005. Zablan is also charged with harassment, a petty misdemeanor.
A friend of the two, Ryan Oberloh, also faces identical charges. He has yet to be served with the complaint and a summons from the court.
Zablan, Kapua and their attorneys all declined comment.
Deputy Prosecutor Renee Sonobe Hong declined to discuss the case but noted its timeliness.
"The case is important because underage drinking is something we all need to take seriously, especially in light of the beginning graduation season," she said. "The community, the parents -- we all need to know we can trust our leaders, be it coaches, teachers or parents."
According to police, the team slept over at the Mililani High School gym during their stay here. The coaches allegedly purchased and consumed liquor every night during their stay and shared it with seven of the nine players.
Both men were fired, and all except the two players who did not drink were suspended from the program after the incident came to light. The school hired a new coach and held tryouts but could not complete the season because of inadequate numbers and concerns for the players' safety. The Pine Lasses withdrew from the remainder of the Maui Interscholastic League season the following month.
Zablan will be arraigned in Oahu Circuit Court on July 3. Kapua is set for trial in Wahiawa District Court on July 20.