Families of alleged sex victims say jury lacked courage
The families of five girls who accused Aiea dance instructor Daniel Jones of sexually assaulting them over a one-year period say they are disappointed in the jury's decision to acquit him on multiple charges.
This is the first time the girls' families have spoken publicly about the case since the verdict Wednesday. A Circuit Court jury found Jones, 21, a teacher at the Rosalie Woodson Dance Academy on Moanalua Road, not guilty of 12 of 18 sexual assault charges but could not reach unanimous verdicts on six remaining counts.
A retrial on the remaining counts has been set for the week of Aug. 28.
"The verdict was a huge blow to our families and, most of all, to our daughters, and it breaks our hearts to think that the criminal justice system has let these young girls down," the families said in a written statement. "We are very proud of our daughters for having the courage to step forward as they did. We only wish the jury had showed the same courage."
They said Jones has never denied the allegations and instead chose not to take the stand and explain his conduct.
Attorneys for Jones said he has maintained his innocence from the beginning and that the jury rendered the proper verdicts based on the evidence.
"While it is understandable, it is unfortunate that the families of the girls in this case do not acknowledge the tremendous courage, dedication and hard work the jury exhibited in this case," defense attorneys Myron Takemoto and Ken Shimozono said in a written statement.
"Unlike those persons with an emotional tie to this case, or others who like to speculate based on media accounts, the jurors listened to every bit of evidence for over three weeks and then spent nine days carefully considering that evidence," they said. "All of the jurors served their civic duty honorably in this case and their commitment should not be called into question simply because the jury did not render the result that some people wanted."
Prosecutors have declined comment, citing the upcoming retrial.