Guard sorry
for sex assault

A judge hands down a 15-year
prison term to a former officer
who assaulted a teen ward

A former prison guard, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday, apologized for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility last year.

"What I did was wrong and it still is. And for that, I'm sorry and I apologize," said Li'a Olione. "I have no one to blame but myself and I'm accountable."

The victim and her family were in the courtroom during the sentencing before Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto yesterday.

Olione, 45, pleaded guilty in April to two counts of second-degree sexual assault, one count of third-degree sexual assault and one of terroristic threatening.

Sakamoto told Olione that his duty as a youth correctional officer was to protect minors.

"You instead preyed upon a minor," he said.

Olione's attorney, David Hayakawa, said he will ask the Hawaii Paroling Authority that Olione serve a minimum of nine years. A hearing date has yet to be set.

"Mr. Olione did betray the public trust, and that's why he is taking responsibility for his actions and he's going to jail for a long time," said Hayakawa. "The judge's decision was very fair."

Maeda Timson, chairwoman of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board, read a statement from the victim during Olione's sentencing.

"You made me feel shame, worthless and dirty," Timson read. "You made me feel like an underaged prostitute. Do you know how that feels?

"Just know one thing, if I had it my way, I would rather have you in jail for life because I wouldn't want another person go through the same thing I went through."

Olione took the girl out of her cell and into an office area in the female teen module about midnight on June 15, Olione's birthday. The teen ward was 16 years old when the assault occurred.

A few days after the assault, Olione threatened the ward twice.

"Mr. Olione pulled her out of a classroom and told her, 'Remember, I know where you live,'" said Deputy Attorney General Kurt Spohn. "She was terrified."

Nevertheless, the girl told her mother of the assault a week after it happened during a camp outing. Spohn commended the teenager for taking action against Olione.

"She had the courage to stand up to him," said Spohn.

He noted that the Attorney General's Office had received complaints of inappropriate language and touching by Olione from other female teen wards.

"This crime is going to have a profound effect on her for the rest of her life and I think with appropriate counseling and with the courage she has already shows, hopefully she'll be able to put this behind her and be able to minimize the effects that this has," said Spohn.

"We are grateful that the state acted quickly to prosecute through this tragedy that happened at a state facility," said Timson, who spoke on behalf of the victim's family after the sentencing.

Spohn has said Olione was being investigated before a report was issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii that alleged guards were terrorizing male and female teenage inmates at the youth correctional facility in Kailua.


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