Tripler employee
is accused of fondling

The civilian worker is suspended
in a case involving a girl, 7

Tripler Army Medical Center has removed a 30-year-old civilian from his job as a child therapist while police investigate allegations that he improperly touched a 7-year-old girl enrolled in a Pearl Harbor school's special-needs program.

Margaret Tippy, Tripler spokeswoman, said that when Army officials learned of the allegations on Friday, the civilian contract employee was removed from the job he has held for two years.

She said the case was turned over to the Honolulu Police Department.

Lt. Dennis Kim, head of HPD's sex abuse unit for minors, said the incident was reported to the police this weekend and involves a 7-year-old student at Pearl Harbor Kai Elementary School, which is on a year-round schedule and whose students started school July 21. The girl is the daughter of a Navy sailor.

The case is being investigated as a third-degree sexual assault, a Class C felony.

He said he did not know if the victim had been interviewed.

Tippy said the accused man had worked for Tripler for two years under Project ASSIST, which stands for Augmentation of Special Needs Services and Information to Students and Teachers. It is described as a collaborative effort among the state Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Defense and the University of Hawaii.

A spokeswoman said the Department of Education is aware of the investigation.

The Project ASSIST program was started three years ago at Hale Kula and Pearl Harbor Kai elementary schools.

The program is supposed to aid teachers in identifying and helping young students who might be struggling with learning disabilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, central auditory processing disorder, autistic spectrum disorder and dyslexia.

It also provides teachers with an educational Web site and the delivery of physical and occupational therapy for students by licensed and certified therapists.

Tippy said parents who have concerns because of the alleged incident can call Project ASSIST at Tripler at 433-7372.



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