Maui Mayor Breaks Silence on Sex AssaultApril 8, 2019, 3:25 PM HST · Updated April 8, 7:34 PM Wendy Osher · 12 Comments
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today, recounted a very personal account of sex assault that he shared for the very first time as joined in offering a proclamation to recognize Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the County of Maui.
“Sexual abuse comes in many forms,” he said as he shared a very private moment with those in attendance at the front lawn of the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.
“I have never told even my wife of 43 years this story. It’s a true story. It was about a young man who was 13 years old, and four guys jumped him and took his clothes off and played with his privates,” said Mayor Victorino. “Thirteen years old. And I never told this story because I’ve always kept it within–inside of that person. I never wanted anyone to hear about it. But it was me that it was done to… It was me.”
“I resented that, and I hated that. For years it stayed in me. Never talked about it. Not even to my priest. No one,” said Mayor Victorino. “So I understand, that what you’re talking about–sexual awareness and abuse–it should never happen to anyone, whether you’re 13 years old, you’re 20 years old, whether you’re male or female, no matter what you’re sexual orientation is. It should never happen,” said Mayor Victorino.
“If it was today, I think I would have pressed charges and I would have gone after them. But this is like 55 years ago, or 50 years ago, I should say– and back then, you had nowhere to turn. You know, you didn’t want to tell your parents; You didn’t want to tell your friends. Because what–you cannot handle yourself?–that was the attitude. So I grew strong from it, and I worked hard and never let it deter me,” said Mayor Victorino.
“Remember, respect–and I talk about respect all of the time. This is the ultimate respect. When someone says no–when they say, no, I don’t want to engage, this is inappropriate behavior–stop, cease and desist, enough. That to me is so important,” said Mayor Victorino.
The comments came amid a small demonstration rally called Rise Up Maui that was moved to the same location as the proclamation event. Organizers say they joined the event to demand action from the Mayor who will announce his decision tomorrow regarding leadership in the Department of the Corporation Counsel.
Mayor Victorino will meet with Prosecuting Attorney Don Guzman today discuss the attorney general’s report declining to prosecute Patrick Wong, who was arrested and charged last month with abuse of a household member.
Krishna F. Jayaram, Special Assistant to the Attorney General said, “This review failed to demonstrate that Wong was engaged in an act of domestic violence pursuant to the laws of the State of Hawaiʻi. The Complainant in this case has been apprised and supports the Department’s decision.”
A decision on Corp Counsel leadership will be announced at a press conference tomorrow afternoon.
Among those who participated in the demonstration was Kimberlyn Scott, the mother of Carly “Charli” Scott, who went missing in February of 2014. A murder conviction was made in the case, but Charli’s mother continues to fight for access to and possession of the only pieces of her daughter that were recovered during the investigation, including part of a jawbone.
“I would like to meet with the mayor prior to him announcing the decision that will impact this entire county for the next several years,” said Scott. “I feel that he has neglected to speak to the people who have survived domestic violence and the people that represent it on this subject. I requested of him a half-an-hour before he makes that decision tomorrow, or announces it, and I was just granted that, so I’m going to hold him to his word,” she said.
Maui Now reached out to Mr. Wong for comment, but did not receive a response at the time of this publication.
With respect to the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s decision to decline prosecution in Patrick Wong’s criminal case, newly appointed Maui County Prosecuting Attorney Don S. Guzman, clarified and stated the following:
“[W]hen the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney for Maui County (Department) was first made aware of Mr. Pat Wong’s arrest for Abuse of Family/Household Member, our Department immediately declared a ‘conflict of interest’ in handling Mr. Wong’ s case for the reason that he is a member of the Mayor’s cabinet and holds the position as the Corporation Counsel that represents the County in all civil litigation and interdepartmental disputes. We forwarded all police reports and investigation material, under seal, to the Department of the Attorney General to make an independent determination with respect to prosecution. Based on our Department’s conflict of interest in Mr. Wong’s case, we were not and have not been involved in any factual or legal findings and/or decisions with respect to the charges leading to his arrest and handling of the criminal case in court. A conflict of interest requires that our Department be completely removed from Mr. Wong’s case in its entirety.”
***Check back for our video coverage, which will be posted later today. Also tune in to KHON2 / KHII Ch. 5 for our video report.
Story & Video by Wendy Osher
Video Edit by W. Osher & Gaylord Garcia
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