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StarBulletin.com

No parole for woman convicted for abuse


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POSTED: Thursday, May 14, 2009

A tearful Rita Makekau apologized at a parole board hearing to three of the five children she brutally abused—and never asked for less than the maximum prison penalty for what she had done, city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said yesterday.

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Makekau, 52, also thanked Carlisle for getting her bail revoked during her appeal because it gave her time to think about what she had done, Carlisle said at a news conference. She did not refer to herself as the foreign minister of a Hawaiian sovereignty organization as she had during her court proceedings, he said.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority told Makekau at the end of the hearing April 23 at Women's Community Correctional Center that she will not be eligible for parole from her five-year prison sentence for assaulting her sister's five children.

“;It startled everyone in the room, including the kids, including the people who now have guardianship of the kids,”; Carlisle said. “;And it startled a very hostile victim/witness counselor from our office.”;

Makekau pleaded no contest to abuse of a household family member and eight counts of second-degree assault. However, she had never previously admitted committing the abuse, claiming that her actions were to discipline the children. She is appealing her conviction, claiming that the laws of the state do not apply to her.

After the parole hearing, the three children ran up to Makekau and hugged her.

“;It went pretty well,”; said attorney Tae Won Kim, who attended the hearing.

Kim was not Makekau's lawyer during the criminal proceedings but is handling her appeal. He said Makekau accepted responsibility and the consequences of what she did. He said Makekau has been remorseful and hopeful that what she did to the children will not have a lifelong negative effect.

The abuse happened in 2004 and 2005, after the state awarded custody of the children to Makekau's daughter and son-in-law in Waianae. The three boys and two girls were 7 to 14 years old at the time.

A state judge sentenced Barbara and Gabriel Kalama last year to five years' probation and a year in jail for perpetuating what the state said was a house of torture.