Ex-guard admits she and inmate had sex
A female former adult corrections officer has admitted to having sex with a male inmate.
Esther Ann Ho'omalu, 44, waived indictment yesterday and pleaded guilty in Circuit Court to second-degree sexual assault, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
She is charged under a statute that prohibits the employee of a state prison from having sex with a person incarcerated or in detention.
Ho'omalu was working at the Halawa Correctional Facility on April 21, 2005, when she and the inmate were observed by fellow guards.
The state has prosecuted male prison guards and even a warden for having inappropriate relations with inmates, but this is the first in recent history where a female guard was the accused, said Deputy Attorney General Chris Young. Whether or not the sex was consensual was not an issue; it was her position of authority in a correctional facility that made her conduct unlawful, Young said.
"We take these allegations very seriously in order to maintain and control a safe environment within the prisons," Young said. "Whether it's a male or female (guard) -- we treat them alike and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law."
Defense attorney Scott Collins reserved comment for sentencing.
Ho'omalu had been with the state Department of Public Safety just shy of eight years when she left in May 2005. The department reported the incident to the state attorney general and took administrative action, Young said.
Public Safety officials could confirm only Ho'omalu's prior employment.