Teen says teacher
fondled her before rape

By Debra Barayuga

A teenager who accused a Wahiawa Middle School teacher of sexually assaulting her in May 2001 testified yesterday that he had allegedly touched her intimately a few months earlier in his classroom.

Gabriel Kealoha, 30, is on trial in Circuit Court on three counts each of second- and fourth-degree sexual assault stemming from an incident that allegedly occurred in his classroom.

The defense contends the rape never happened and that she made up the story to get attention.

The girl had previously testified that she considered Kealoha, whom she has referred to as "Mister" since the trial began Tuesday, "like a brother and a friend" because he listened to her and "talked story" with her and her friends.

During questioning by Deputy Prosecutor Lucianne Khalaf, the girl, who was an eighth-grader and 14 at the time, said she was sitting on a couch in Kealoha's classroom during recess when it happened. She had a pillow on her lap and was watching two other male friends playing games on a Sony PlayStation when Kealoha squeezed in beside her and one of the boys.

She said Kealoha slipped his hand under the pillow on her lap and "put his hands up my shorts" while he also watched the two boys play.

A female classmate standing in front of her was looking at her and had a "funny look" on her face but did not say anything, she testified.

When another teacher walked up the stairs leading into the classroom, she said, Kealoha removed his hand and went to meet the other teacher.

She said she told no one about his touching her and did not talk to Kealoha about it because "I was scared and felt weird afterwards."

For a while she began hanging out at the cafeteria instead or went to Kealoha's classroom accompanied by two of her male classmates, she said.

About the alleged May 27, 2001, assault, the girl testified that she was "too scared to even say anything."

"Feels like you wanna say something (but) nothing comes out," she added.

She said she did not try to run away because Kealoha was "way bigger than me, and no way I could get away."

Defense attorney Victor Bakke continued to question the girl's credibility, asking her about alleged statements, letters and e-mails to friends about her relationship with her parents, particularly her mother, problems she had with friends and frequent injuries. The defense contends that she has lied in the past when she encountered unpleasant situations and that she did so to gain sympathy or attention.

Bakke also asked her about instances where her testimony appeared to differ from statements she gave to a police detective in October 2001, after she finally told her parents about the alleged assault.

The girl, who answered "I don't know" or "I don't remember" to many questions, insisted she has testified truthfully in court about the assault.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --