Another Sex Abuse Lawsuit Against KS

There’s been a new sexual abuse lawsuit filed against Kamehameha Schools and some of its former employees, including the ex vice president for education Robert Holoua Stender, who also is a kumu hula.

This is the result of an extension of the timeline for such lawsuits. These alleged abuse cases are from an earlier period when plaintiffs were minors.

The latest suit, filed by attorneys at the firms Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman, and Talbert Law’s Patricia Talbert and Mililani Trask, names as the plaintiff Daniel K. Kaohimaunu.

The defendants are Stender (who also served as headmaster of the KS Hawaii campus), Charles Dunn, the estate of Eugene Turchi, ten “John Does” and ten “Mary Does.”

Turchi was not a KS employee but the suit says “Turchi, a pedophile, came on campus and took Kaohimaunu, without any restrictions.” It says Turchi took the boy to meet people “at Hula’s, a gay bar frequented by Turchi, a sexual predator and pedophile…”

It includes this detail: “From approximately 1981 to 1984, Eugene Turchi repeatedly and recklessly subjected Kauohimaunu to acts of sexual penetration by compulsion, and caused Kaohimaunu to have sexual contact with him and other white male adults.”

The suit says “While at the KS Concert Glee Club, Daniel came in contact with Stender, a kumu (“teacher’) employed by KS, who ultimately sexually molested and assaulted [him] while the Glee Club was on a field trip to Samoa.”

 Robert H. Stender/KS Photo

Dunn was a teacher and the suit is less explicit about his relationship with the boy, other than rubbing his arm and thigh on occasion and complimenting his “beautiful eyes.”

The suit seems primarily aimed at the school administrator who allegedly did little investigation, and Stender.

“Stender began his career at KS’s Kapālama Campus when KS employed him in 1979 as a teacher in the High School Performing Arts Department. From 1979 to 2018, Stender held several other school instructional and leadership positions, including KS Elementary School Poʻokumu (Principal) where he supervised 90 staff and more than 750 students, as well as KS’s Poʻokula for the Hawaiʻi Campus. Stender was responsible for overseeing efforts to transform the educational profile and achievements of Native Hawaiians.

“On or about January 29th, 2018, KS’ CEO Jack Wong announced Stender, then Executive Vice President of Education, would step down from his position and retire. Stender’s retirement occurred within the same month, i.e., January 2018, in which KS’s investigators heard Kaohimaunu report Stender had sexually abused and assaulted him.”

Kamehameha Schools earlier had agreed to pay $80 million to 32 former students who said they were abused by psychiatrist Dr. Robert Browne from 1958-1985. In many cases, they reported it to the school but nothing was done.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

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