Reported sexual assaults increase around UH-Manoa


POSTED: Saturday, October 04, 2008

A large spike in forcible sexual assaults last year from the previous year near the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus is attributable to more complete reporting, Chief of Campus Security Neal Sakamoto said.

Sex assaults off campus “;jumped from 0 to 10,”; Sakamoto acknowledged. “;In the past there were probably at least as many.”;

Three forcible sex offenses on campus were reported in 2007, up from two in 2006 and two in 2005.

The statistics are part of UH-Manoa's Campus Annual Crime Report, required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

Other sex assault cases before last year might not have been reported, Sakamoto said.

The three sexual assaults on campus reported in 2007 were all in dormitories or other residential facilities.

Mark Heath, a Schofield Barracks soldier, pleaded guilty in August to burglary and third-degree sexual assault charges for breaking into several UH dormitories and taking underwear in April 2007. In August 2007, Heath tried to cut off the panties of a female student at a dorm, and allegedly stole women's underwear in November.

Sakamoto said after the soldier was arrested last year for stealing panties, “;we increased our patrols around student housing.”;

Also in November, a man used a cell phone to take photos of a female student showering inside a dormitory. It happened again to another female student in January at an East-West Center dorm.

The university took steps to better secure the UH dormitories, installing locks on bathroom doors in the women's dorms.

The only sexual assault on campus reported thus far

this year reportedly occurred Sept. 23, in which a 17-year-old student alleged a 20-year-old guest lecturer sexually assaulted her, Sakamoto said.

The Papakolea man was arrested Monday on suspicion of second-degree sexual assault.

Overall, last year's crime rate was similar to 2005 and 2006, with the only other significant increase in the number of burglaries and attempted burglaries, 43 reported, compared with 29 in 2006. But in 2005 there were 49 cases.

Of the 43 burglaries in 2007, 27 occurred in the dorms or other residences in the UH area.

Sakamoto said Hawaii is always in the top five in property crimes but low in major crimes of violence compared with other universities of equal size in urban areas, which seems to reflect the city's crime rates.

There have been two recent armed robberies near campus, and the suspects are still at large.

A man reportedly armed with an Uzi-type weapon demanded money and fled with cash from two men at Kanewai Park. On Aug. 31 a UH student was robbed outside Burns Hall on East-West Road by two men.

The crimes will be included in next year's report.