Teacher accused ofBy Jaymes K. Song
more sexual contact
An elementary school art teacher who has worked at four Oahu public schools this academic year has been charged for having sexual contact with nine students.
Brian Ibaan, 40, was charged yesterday with 14 counts of third-degree sexual assault, police said. He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.
He is the third public-school employee in as many weeks to be charged with sexual misconduct.
On March 25, Washington Middle School registrar William Sealy was arrested for receiving child pornography.
The same day, Mililani Mauka Elementary teacher Kevin Kurasaki was charged with seven counts of sexual assault on a fifth-grade girl.
"People who offend children come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and we need to educate our children that it can be anyone -- stranger or acquaintance," said Honolulu police Detective Cheryl Sunia. "And this is a perfect example."
Ibaan allegedly touched the girls in at least two schools and inside a Mililani home. One of the schools was Mililani Uka Elementary, where he has worked for the past five years.
The girls are 9 to 11 years old.
Police said they are continuing to investigate.
Ibaan, a contract-hire teacher, worked at Mililani Uka, Barbers Point, Kipapa and Mauka Lani elementary schools. He was part of a educational program to promote art.
Ibaan, who has no prior criminal record, turned himself in at police headquarters Monday and was arrested after a fifth-grade student at Mililani Uka reported being fondled by him.
"Generally what happens is you have one person who discloses and other children come forth and say the same thing happened to me," Sunia said.
"And it becomes a snowball effect with these types of cases. And that's what specifically happened in this case."
The first allegation arose the same day Mililani Uka was having a series of lectures and assemblies for Sexual Abuse Awareness Month, said Department of Education spokesman Greg Knudsen.
Ibaan was hired in 1992, and his background was checked and screened at that time, Knudsen said.
He added that it's difficult to tell on the surface whether a person could be an offender.
"You don't notice it until the problem arises," he said, adding that the department took immediate action in suspending Ibaan's contract when the allegations arose.
Ibaan's preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Friday.
Danielle Lum, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said cases of sexual misconduct remain rare, and the recent cluster is a coincidence.
She said Kurasaki and Sealy are HSTA members.
The union will not pay to defend them in criminal court but will back them up in administrative proceedings if the DOE tries to fire them before their criminal cases are resolved in court, Lum said.
"If they are found guilty, then by all means they should not be teaching or anywhere near kids, for that matter," Lum said. "But first they deserve their day in court."