Kauai police chief
faces another suit

The latest action is by the officer
who filed the initial complaint

LIHUE >> The Kauai Police Commission's investigation of police Chief George Freitas has spawned another lawsuit -- the latest one filed by the police officer who filed the original complaint against Freitas almost two years ago.

In his lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, former Kauai police Lt. Alvin Seto made the same allegation to the court against Freitas that he did to the Police Commission in 1991: that Freitas had hindered the prosecution of a police officer.

After placing Freitas on paid suspension for five months and hiring an investigator who interviewed more than 150 department employees, the Police Commission decided Freitas did nothing wrong beyond yelling at one of his assistant chiefs and giving his girlfriend a ride in his unmarked police car.

Earlier, County Prosecutor Mike Soong came to the same conclusion. He refused to charge Freitas with hindering the investigation.

Seto, a 22-year Kauai police veteran, left the department in May 2002. He now works as a security supervisor at the Navy's Pacific Missile Range on Kauai.

Freitas has said repeatedly that he followed the county attorney's advice in the case and that he kept Seto from committing a crime by revealing confidential information about a sexual harassment complaint.

After hearing of the latest lawsuit, Freitas said yesterday: "I'm done with saying 'No comment.' How many times does he get to make this same complaint, and how many times do we have to prove there isn't any truth to it?"

The investigation of Freitas and the parade of lawsuits that followed it centered on a criminal case against officer Nelson Gabriel that had been investigated by Seto. Gabriel was charged with sexually molesting his stepdaughter.

One of the key witnesses in the case was Gabriel's wife, who planned to testify on Gabriel's behalf that her daughter was a pathological liar.

Shortly before the trial began, Seto asked the prosecuting attorney in the case to send a written request to Freitas asking that Gabriel's wife be re-interviewed. Seto planned to tell the wife that a woman police dispatcher had filed a sexual harassment complaint against Gabriel, who had been temporarily assigned as a dispatcher until his criminal case was resolved.

Freitas refused to allow Seto to use the sexual harassment allegation in his interview.

Gabriel's wife (along with many witnesses) testified her daughter frequently accused people of crimes that never took place when she was angry at them, and Gabriel was acquitted.

Seto responded by filing a "hindering prosecution" complaint with the Police Commission after the prosecutor refused to charge the chief with a crime. The commission ultimately dismissed the charge as unfounded.

Meanwhile, Freitas sued the county for violating his right to due process. That case was dismissed because Freitas never was fired and never lost any pay.

The dispatcher sued Kauai County alleging Seto violated her right to confidentiality. That lawsuit was settled out of court for an amount the county repeatedly has refused to make public.

When he returned to work, Freitas fired his secretary, Jacqueline Tokashiki, who was not covered by civil service, for conducting a search of his office without a warrant.

Tokashiki, who has two lawsuits -- one in state court and another in federal court -- pending against Freitas claiming her job was protected by the "Whistle Blower's Act," is represented by Clayton Ikei, the same attorney who represents Seto.


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