Saturday, May 29, 1999

Sex with female officer
consensual, former
deputy chief says

By Debra Barayuga


A former Maui deputy police chief has testified he had sex with female officer Bonnie Burke twice, but it was consensual.

Former deputy chief Lanny Tihada testified that Burke also made no allegations of improper conduct against him before he retired in 1996 after 26 years with the Maui Police Department.

Tihada, who now works for the Hawaii Protective Association, yesterday denied allegations in a lawsuit filed by Burke. He also disputed allegations of sexual harassment made against him by another female officer and a female Molokai police dispatcher.

Burke is suing the Maui Police Department, claiming that over the years, she was "iced out" by fellow officers and subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination because she was a woman and a Caucasian.

Last week, Burke testified that Tihada sexually harassed her and raped her three times but she did not tell anyone because it would have jeopardized her career.

Yesterday, Tihada said he had sex with Burke once in 1994 after he returned to Lahaina from Molokai, where he served as captain.

Tihada said she handed him a note which said to call her later and gave her phone number.

Tihada testified he contacted her and went over to her home where Burke, wearing a blue teddy, invited him in. He said they went into the living room, made small talk, began kissing and they ended up in the bedroom. He later got up, got dressed, told her good night and went home, Tihada said.

When asked if there was any indication their relations were other than consensual, he said, "No."

On that occasion in 1994, Burke said, she was doing the dishes that night and was wearing a blue teddy and bathrobe when she heard a knock at her back door.

She said she was flattered when she saw Tihada because he was a popular man and let him in. She said she resisted when Tihada forced himself on her and was afraid for her daughter who was asleep in a room down the hall.

Burke said when she told him she wouldn't say anything to anyone, he said she had better not, called her vulgar names and said that nobody would believe her and that her career would be over.

Tihada said the second sexual encounter occurred in November or December 1996, after he had retired from the department.

An off-duty Burke was at a get-together and told him to call her later, Tihada said. He went over to her home and they had consensual sex again, he said.

Burke, who joined the department in February 1991, is now on stress leave. Attorneys for Maui County allege that Burke's stress is the result of a blood disorder and not the harassment she received on the job.

In a separate allegation, Tihada admitted to touching another female officer, JoAnn Allencastre, on the breast but denied touching her in the groin.

When asked by Burke's attorney Gerald Johnson whether he felt his actions toward Allencastre were appropriate, Tihada replied, "Yes, because I was interested in her." He said she welcomed his advances "up to a certain point" until she told him to stop.

Tihada denied that he grabbed the face of Molokai police dispatcher Susan McPherson with two hands and tried to insert his tongue into her mouth. "I don't know why she would make that allegation," he said.

McPherson filed a lawsuit and settled out of court for $20,000.

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