A Hawaii island woman has sued the state Department of Education and Board of Education for negligence and violation of federal civil rights laws for allegedly failing to intervene when officials learned her special needs grandson was sexually abused by an education assistant at his school. The federal lawsuit, filed earlier this week, comes several months after a former education assistant at a Big Island high school was sentenced for third-degree sexual assault.

 

Debra Ann Kimokeo, the plaintiff, said her grandson is a “special-needs individual with severe, permanent intellectual and cognitive impairment” who was assaulted by the aide between December 2018 and March 2019, according to the lawsuit which was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for Hawaii. Stanton Caluag worked as an education assistant at Kealakehe High School, and was tasked with working directly with special education students and teachers, and providing direct one-on-one support to special education students. According to the lawsuit, Caluag was sentenced to a year in jail, five years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender and “stay away from children.” 

 

The lawsuit contended that Caluag, a Kailua-Kona resident, sexually harassed the victim — who is now in his early 20s — at school and after school, including caressing his face, putting his hands in the boy’s pants, making inappropriate facial expressions and committing sexual penetration. His actions seemed to be overlooked, as many times when there was inappropriate behavior being exhibited, the school was put on notice but nothing was done for a while. The school eventually ended up contacting the boy’s family in March 2019, according to the lawsuit, at which point the police began an investigation.

 

Another School Incident of Sexual Misconduct 

 

A Honolulu department director who was put on paid leave amid a sexual misconduct lawsuit has been back to work for several weeks. Enterprise Services Director Guy Kaulukukui stepped away from his job in April after he was sued by a Kamehameha Schools graduate who said he groomed her into having sexual relations while he was her teacher. Kaulukukui was alleged to be 24 years old at the time, and she was 15.

 

The case is ongoing in Circuit Court. In an answer filed in court, Kamehameha Schools argued several defenses including that the plaintiff waited too long to file the lawsuit and that if the allegations are true, Kaulukukui was acting outside the scope of his employment. The school system also filed a cross-claim against Kaulukukui that states if the plaintiff was harmed by him, he is the one who should be held responsible. Kaulukukui is still earning his director salary, as a result of paid leave from his director’s position. 

 

The city has also decided not to conduct an investigation, as the lawsuit was based upon allegations of conduct 35 years ago and the allegations do not involve the City, or Director’s Kaulukukui’s job performance at the City.

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