Two teenaged female cadets currently enrolled in the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy at Kalaeloa have come forward with allegations that two staff members engaged in sexual misconduct, the Guard said Wednesday in a news release.
"I think it can probably be characterized as inappropriate physical contact," said National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony.
The Guard said the allegations were made last week and the misconduct allegedly occurred in October.
Upon hearing the allegations, the Youth Challenge Academy immediately initiated an investigation and notified the Honolulu Police Department and the state Attorney General’s Office, the Guard said.
Both cadre, or staff members, have been placed on unpaid suspension pending the outcome of the investigation. No arrests have been made, Anthony said.
"Two of them (cadets) came forward. One allegation is probably lesser than the other," Anthony said.
Asked if there were allegations of assault, Anthony said he was not sure he could disclose any more information than he did provide.
"The investigation is still going on," he said. The Honolulu Police Department has the lead for any potential criminal actions, he said.
"We’re not going to disclose names or any other information either about the accused or the cadets," Anthony said.
The female cadets have been provided counseling. The cadets’ parents were notified and have met with the academy’s director, the Guard said.
"We are taking these allegations very seriously," Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, the state adjutant general, said in the release. "We will have zero tolerance for misconduct of this nature and we are looking at our procedures to ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again."
The Youth Challenge Academy is a program for 16-to-18-year old at-risk youth. Cadets are enrolled in a military-style environment for five-and-a-half months while they study for their high school diplomas and learn discipline and life-coping skills, the Guard said.
Upon completion of the 22-week residential phase they are paired with a mentor who oversees their progress for at least an additional year.
Anthony said the academy staff is made up of current and former Hawaii National Guard soldiers and airmen, as well as retired active duty personnel.