HPD worker fails to stop theft cases against her
A state judge has declined to halt administrative and criminal proceedings against a Honolulu police civilian worker for allegedly stealing medical examiner records.
Circuit Judge Gary Won Bae Chang said he was not swayed by Sharon Black's argument yesterday that going ahead with both actions violates a 2001 settlement agreement reached in her sexual harassment suit against HPD, said her attorney Mark Beatty.
In that suit, Black accused retired Assistant Police Chief Joseph Aveiro Jr. of sexual harassment and other high-ranking officials of failing to properly investigate and discipline him.
In court documents filed Tuesday in Circuit Court, Black contends the administrative and criminal proceedings against her are "part of a program of retaliation" by HPD for the sexual harassment suit she brought against HPD nine years ago and that the theft allegations are baseless.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter objected to Black's request for a restraining order, arguing that her motion "in general, was specious and her arguments disingenuous and totally without merit."
He declined to comment on Black's retaliation claims.
Chang denied Black's requests to issue an order enjoining any further prosecution in the criminal case and any action Honolulu police might take in its separate administrative investigation, Van Marter said.
Chang found that the settlement agreement in her sexual harassment case "did not contemplate that a civil judge would intervene in the event that criminal charges were brought against the defendant in a matter unrelated to the allegations made in the civil case," Van Marter said.
Black was indicted Aug. 10 with unauthorized computer access, fourth-degree theft and tampering with government records. The charges accuse her of improperly accessing medical examiner records, printing hard copies and refusing to return the copies when ordered to.
Black maintains she had permission from the medical examiner to use their records and took the records home to work on her report. She said the medical examiner staff knew she obtained copies because they had assisted her in printing out copies and had provided similar information to her. She said she returned the records the next day after she was asked to return them, and thought the matter was resolved.
Still pending is a complaint Black filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination and retaliation by HPD after it learned of the theft allegations. If the EEOC finds in her favor, Black is expected to file suit in U.S. District Court, Beatty said.