Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Police chief of
Kauai placed on
administrative leave

KITV reports that Chief Freitas
has been accused of
hindering an investigation

Staff and wire reports

LIHUE >> Kauai Police Chief George Freitas apparently has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations that he hindered a sexual assault investigation involving a police officer, television station KITV reported last night.

A spokesman for Mayor Maryanne Kusaka would only confirm that Freitas is no longer in charge of the department.

"I'm not at liberty to discuss Chief Freitas," said spokeswoman Beth Tokioka yesterday.

"All I can tell you is, (Deputy Chief) Wilfred Ihu is running the department until further notice."

KITV reported that Freitas has been placed on four months administrative leave with pay because of allegations of misconduct made against him by two Kauai police officers.

The news report said the Kauai Police Commission met Friday to discuss the charges and recommended that Freitas be placed on leave pending the completion of the independent investigation.

Freitas, who just returned from a mainland trip, said he has not been informed of the administrative action against him. He referred questions to Kusaka's office.

The most serious allegations involve Freitas' handling of a criminal case pending against police officer Nelson Gabriel, who was indicted in 1999 on charges of sexually assaulting a girl.

Gabriel is scheduled for trial next month, according to the report.

KITV quoted unnamed sources as saying the two officers alleged that Freitas hindered the investigation of the Gabriel case in 1999 and again more recently.

Gabriel's attorney, Michael Green, said the case should not have been brought against Gabriel and that the alleged victim made up the charges.

KITV's sources indicated that the police commmission wants an outside agency -- perhaps the attorney general's office or a private firm -- to investigate the charges against Freitas.

Frietas, who grew up in Honolulu, was hired in 1995 from the Richmond, Calif., police department.

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