students expelled

One of the dismissed students,
a member of the football team,
plans to contact a lawyer

Several Kamehameha Schools students have been expelled following a week-long investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving football players who were said to have videotaped an encounter on the grounds of the Kapalama campus, the school announced yesterday in a written press release.

"Although we have not seen, nor do we have a copy of, any videotape, our investigation determined that sexual misconduct did indeed occur," said Michael Chun, the Kapalama campus president and headmaster.

"Publicly disclosing any disciplinary action is unprecedented at Kamehameha," Chun said.

"However, this situation is unprecedented and has led the community to question the integrity and values of our school," he said. "Let us be very clear: sexual misconduct and sexual harassment are not condoned or tolerated at Kamehameha Schools."

Chun is assembling a team of experts to review the school's sexual harassment policies "and identify additional actions we can take to encourage and influence healthy, appropriate, respectful attitudes, relationships and behaviors."

The campus has been rocked by additional sex scandals in the last week.

On Friday, a 15-year-old male Kamehameha student was arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a female student. Earlier in the week, a former female student filed a lawsuit alleging she suffered years of sexual assault and harassment by a football player despite administrators' knowledge of the abuse.

The arrest is not related to the other cases, a school spokesman said Friday.

In response to the lawsuit, Kamehameha Schools said that the allegations in the lawsuit are "simply not true."

Yesterday's written statement did not address the rape arrest or the lawsuit. The school also declined to say how many students were expelled or what other discipline was imposed.

"The expectations we establish for our students are based on Hawaiian and Christian values subscribed to by Princess Pauahi," Chun said. "Recognizing the spiritual needs of our students, we seek to strengthen the good in their hearts and their ability to discern right from wrong. When their behavior conflicts with these expectations, we take appropriate action."

Six football players were suspended just before the Interscholastic League of Honolulu championship game with St. Louis last Saturday following reports of the sexual misconduct.

School officials had said they were investigating reports that the football players were involved in videotaping sexual acts with a female student.

In an interview with KHON that aired yesterday, a Kamehameha football player said he and four other players were told yesterday that they were being expelled.

The student denied the existence of a videotape.

The student's father said he was contacting a lawyer in response to his son's expulsion.

"It's a traumatic time for all Kamehameha ohana," said Jan E. Hanohano Dill, president of Na Pua a Ke Alii Pauahi, an organization of more than 2,000 Kamehameha students, parents and alumni.

"It's bad for the parents and for the teachers and all of the rest of the students. It runs so contrary to the character and the purpose" of the school.

Mehana Kaiama, a 2001 Kamehameha graduate, said she felt safe while attending the school and was surprised when she heard about the allegations. But she agreed with the recent expulsions and said that any student who has sexually harassed or assaulted another student should get the same punishment.

"Kamehameha doesn't help them by slapping them on the wrists and then letting them go back to school," she said. "The more important lesson is: If you mess up you're going to pay for it."

But Roy Benham, a member and former president of the school's alumni association, stressed that Kamehameha isn't the only school where sexual assaults or misconduct have been reported.

"What surprises me is the publicity this is getting," he said. "Let's face it. It happens in every high school. I'm a former teacher and I know that."

Dill agreed, saying that "Kamehameha is not alone in struggling with these issues."


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