Mahalo HI Laborers’ Union Local 368 and General Contractors Association Of HI for the Endorsements!

Senator Shimabukuro Featured in HPR Story About SB2719 (7/12/18)

Ku’uwehi Hiraishi, “Survivors Now Have More Time to Sue for Clergy Sex Abuse,” Hawaii Public Radio, 12 July 2018.

A new law in Hawaiʻi now gives survivors of child sexual abuse more time to file claims against their abuser. Reforms to the state’s statute of limitations have been key in exposing the extent of child sexual abuse at various institutions, most notably the Catholic Diocese of Honolulu.

Nearly 60 priests associated with Hawaiʻi’s Roman Catholic Church have been accused of child sexual abuse. That’s according to a recent report by attorneys of abuse victims.

One of those priests is Father Donald Graff. He’s accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy while assigned to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu in the 1960s. It took that boy 50 years to come forward.

“Who wants to come out and say, ‘I was abused’? What 12-, 13-year-old boy, altar boy going to a Catholic school wants to tell somebody I was abused?” says a 67-year-old survivor who would like to remain anonymous, “I would never tell my mother that. She was a devout Catholic. Even if I did, she probably wouldn’t believe me.”

The 67-year-old survivor spoke to Hawai’i Public Radio on the condition of anonymity. He filed suit against Father Graff in 2016 and the case was settled a year later.

“Nowadays, this is almost common place. You hear it – colleges, professors, senators,” says the survivor, ”So maybe it’s coming out of the closet a little bit more but it took a lot to come out of the closet for me.”

The true extent of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Honolulu only became publically known after changes to Hawaiʻi’s statute of limitations allowed survivors to file suit decades after the abuse took place.

The legislature first opened a two-year, retroactive window for survivors in 2012. That window was extended in 2014 and again this month when Governor David Ige signed Senate Bill 2719.

Wai’anae Senator Maile Shimabukuro speaks at a press conference on the passage of Senate Bill 2719, which extends the window for survivors of child sexual abuse to come forward and file a civil lawsuit. Photo credit Ku’uwehi Hiraishi.

“It’s finally showing both the victims and the abusers out there that this is wrong,” says Waiʻanae Senator Maile Shimabukuro, who introduced the bill.

“You know it’s not your fault if you’re a child sex abuse victim,” says Sen. Shimabukuro, “And that if you are a perpetrator, it’s not okay. It’s not something that is acceptable in our society to do, and that there are consequences.”

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Senator Shimabukuro’s Efforts on Behalf of Sexual Abuse Victims Featured in ‘PEW Stateline’ 7/31/18

Excerpt from Rebecca Beitsch’s “#MeToo Has Changed Our Culture. Now It’s Changing Our Laws,” PEW Stateline, 31 July 2018.

Statute of Limitations

States have spent the past several years expanding statutes of limitation for sex crimes. In some states, victims could not seek justice if they didn’t report the assault within a few years of the incident. Now states are lifting or extending the amount of time victims have to file civil suits against their abusers, citing cases such as the revelations of widespread abuse within the Catholic Church. Many people abused as children waited years or decades to come forward.

But such measures remain controversial. In Hawaii, Attorney General Russell Suzuki, a Democrat, opposed efforts to extend the statute of limitations. “Over the passage of time, memories fade, witnesses move or pass away, and documents are lost or destroyed,” he said. “A claimant could conceivably wait to file a lawsuit until the most strategically opportune time to prevent a defendant from defending against the lawsuit.”

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, a Democrat, has tried repeatedly to end the statute of limitations in Hawaii. She has succeeded in the past in getting legislators to agree to a two-year window that would lift the statute of limitations for civil suits for sex crimes. But a similar effort failed last year, and she wasn’t expecting any progress this year.

Instead, the bill “glided through,” she said, due to news that at least 34 men, former students of Kamehameha Schools, reached an $80 million settlement after facing years of abuse by the school psychologist.

Kamehameha Schools, a private institution reserved for those with Hawaiian blood, is a point of pride for the state and the alma mater of many of its leaders.

“There’s been so much of a revelation … and I think victims are now feeling like there’s support for them to come forward and speak out,” Shimabukuro said, adding that the process can be particularly difficult for men. “This really brought this into our local consciousness too in Hawaii. It’s not just a Catholic Church thing.”

Waiʻanae Coast Candidate Forum 2018 – Senate District 21

Candidates, L-R, Diamond Garcia (R), Maile Shimabukuro (D), Tim Riley (D)

Moderators, L-R, Niniau Simmons and Kauka’ohu Wahilani

Senator Maile Shimabukuro responds to a question.

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii Endorses Senator Maile Shimabukuro for the 2018 Primary & General

Note: Portions of the following letter, received on 7/23/18, have been omitted for publication.

Dear Senator Shimabukuro,

Congratulations! We are thrilled to announce that you have received the endorsement of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii for the 2018 election cycle. You have been a strong supporter of women’s health and equality and we know you will continue to be a dedicated advocate for our organization. We look forward to working with you.

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii is an independent, not-for-profit organization that engages in legislative, educational and limited electoral activity in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Idaho. Planned Parenthood Votes Hawaii PAC and Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network PAC are separate segregated funds of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii, and support pro-choice, pro-family planning, pro-equality candidates for Hawaii’s state, legislative and municipal offices.

Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii strives to use its electoral resources in the most effective way. We target a small number of races and direct the bulk of our resources to those targets.

Your support of sexual and reproductive rights and health means so much—not just to us, but to the thousands of patients Planned Parenthood serves every year in Hawaii. Our patients are women, men, teens and families; they are your constituents. ONE IN FOUR American women have visited a Planned Parenthood affiliate health center in her lifetime. Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii has nearly 382,000 supporters who care about women’s health issues. We are part of a national organization that reaches a network of nearly 9 million supporters across the country.

On behalf of Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii, Planned Parenthood Votes Hawaii PAC and Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network PAC, we wish you the best of luck in the coming election.

Treasure Mackley, Political and Organizing Director
Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest & Hawaii

Star-Advertiser Endorses Senator Maile Shimabukuro for Primary 2018

Star-Advertiser 7/23/18: District 21 (Kalaeloa- Waianae-Makaha): Democratic incumbent Maile Shimabukuro faces Timothy Riley, a retired Georgia assistant county commissioner who’s also worked as a rehabilitation and child counselor. He advocates tackling housing and cost-of- living problems by raising the minimum wage and fixing the Jones Act. Shimabukuro has been adept at advocating for the district and delivering results, such as for Nanakuli traffic projects and funds to expand area schools’ programs and building. A lawyer for a legal services nonprofit, and as Hawaiian Affairs Committee chairwoman, she knows her constituents’ needs, from transitional shelter to Section 8 housing. She’s earned another term. The winner here will face Republican Diamond Garcia.

State Senator Maile Shimabukuro: ‘Ōlelo Candidates in Focus 2018