Coach was forced into confessing, lawyer says
Frederick Rames appears in court on new assault charges
A lawyer accused police of coercing Wahiawa soccer coach Frederick Rames into admitting that he molested two boys.
"Ultimately, he got frustrated and basically said, 'Well if you want me to admit to all this stuff, then yeah, OK, OK, I did it,'" said attorney William Harrison, who represents the 65-year-old Rames.
During questioning on Sept. 21, Rames waived his constitutional rights and admitted to touching the boys and "teaching them how to masturbate," according to a court document.
"That's all police language," said Harrison, who noted that Rames denied molesting the two boys and that he "responded in a flippant manner" due to investigators' constant badgering that he allegedly sexually assaulted the boys.
"The officer kept saying, 'You did it, you did it,'" he said.
Rames appeared before District Judge Gerald Kibe yesterday on additional charges. He was charged last week with 14 counts of third-degree sexual assault and three counts of first-degree assault involving four other boys. He was also charged with four counts of witness tampering.
On Sept. 23 he was charged with six counts of third-degree sexual assault involving two boys, ages 7 and 12.
Following his release from jail in lieu of $150,000 bail, Rames allegedly contacted the two boys in the first case and told them to lie to police that he never touched them. The 7-year-old boy is part of a soccer league Rames coached. The 12-year-old boy is one of his foster children.
Rames was arrested for a second time Thursday and charged the following day for allegedly sexually assaulting the four other boys, all under age 14.
Harrison said Rames denied molesting the six boys and calling the boys to tell them to lie to police. Regarding the 7-year-old who was reported to have contracted a venereal disease, Harrison said they will investigate the possibility that he contracted it from a family member.
In the courtroom yesterday, Rames stood before Kibe with shackled ankles.
Harrison's request to lower Rames' $1 million bail to $150,000 was denied by Kibe. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Abigail Mayers said the bail amount was sufficient due to the "seriousness of the offenses."
"The bail is ridiculous," Harrison said outside the courtroom. "We have clients who have been charged with capital offenses like murder whose bail was not set at $1 million."
The four boys involved in the second case are described to be from the Marshall Islands.
Harrison said there is a language barrier between investigators and all six boys, whose native tongue is Marshallese.
"You have to look at it with a jaundiced eye of what was said," Harrison said.
Harrison also noted that children have a difficult time differentiating between reality and fiction.
He recalled a case involving three preschool students at Windward United Preschool who accused a 44-year-old man of kidnapping, rape, child abuse and assault.
In January 1986, James McKellar, a real estate salesman, was acquitted of all charges after then-Circuit Judge Robert Klein determined that the children's testimony were "tainted by leading questions during investigation," according to an article that appeared in the July 1988 issue of the National Law Journal written by a Star-Bulletin writer.
Asked to comment on Harrison's statements that police coerced Rames to admit to the alleged offenses, Capt. Frank Fujii, spokesman of the Honolulu Police Department, said, "We're going to respect the criminal justice system and have the facts come out during trial."
A preliminary hearing for Rames is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow in District Court. But Harrison said it is likely that Rames will be indicted by a grand jury before the scheduled hearing.