trial set for Pop
The scandal scotched a bowlBy Treena Shapiro
game for one young team
A team father who allegedly stole thousands of fund-raising dollars from the Manoa Paniolo Pop Warner football teams will be tried during Valentine's week after pleading not guilty at his arraignment this morning in Circuit Court.
Shane Santos, father of a Junior Pee Wee player, is facing a second-degree theft charge for allegedly taking money that players had raised through sales of $10 kalua pork tickets and using it to take his family to Las Vegas.
Santos entered a not-guilty plea over video from Oahu Community Correctional Center. Circuit Court Judge Richard K. Perkins set his bail at $50,000. Circuit Judge Marie Milks will try the case on Feb. 14. Pretrial motions are due Jan. 18.
Community support -- some $12,000 in monetary donations and $15,000 worth of kalua pork -- made it possible for the teams to make it to scheduled bowl games in Las Vegas, although some players did not get to take the field.
Only 10 Junior Pee Wee players made the trip; a minimum of 16 were required to play.
"They all pulled out after everything happened," said coach Jon Taniguchi. "We would have had enough players if they hadn't pulled out."
Some would not have come anyway because of the expense, but others opted out because of the scandal.
"After everything that happened, they just thought, 'Forget it.' They didn't even want to take the trip anymore," Helen Lia Kekauoha, a team mom for the Midget division, said.
The Midget team, which had 20 players, lost 6-0 to its Las Vegas opponent.
In spite of everything, those who made it to Las Vegas are in good spirits.
"I hope he does pay for the crime he has done," Kekauoha said. "But in actuality, for the crime he has done, each and every one of us does thank him, because we came out winners."
Even more, Kekauoha thanks those who helped make the trip possible for the players. "They got to do so much more than they would have otherwise, just (from the community's donations) and their love for the kids."
In addition to playing football, the youngsters were able to take in a Star Trek show, go on amusement park rides and visit a number of hotels, including New York, New York; MGM; California; Pyramids; and the Monte Carlo.
But there's still some anger.
"I feel kind of mad because it's not right for someone like that to steal our money to come up to Vegas. If he wanted to come, he could have paid," said Khampsong Sayavong, a 15-year-old defensive tackle and running back for the Midgets.