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Saturday, August 30, 2014         

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Bus driver accused of fondling teen girl

By Rob Shikina

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A 62-year-old driver for TheBus charged with fondling a 14-year-old girl while on duty this week was honored three months ago.

In August, the Hawaii Forgiveness Project honored Joseph Nuuanu for forgiving the driver who killed his two daughters, 22 and 24, and his year-old granddaughter 13 years ago. The project's website said Nuuanu received a hero recognition award.

Now Nuuanu faces two counts of third-degree sexual assault for allegedly fondling the 14-year-old girl on the bus in Makaha. He posted $20,000 bail on Thursday.

Nuuanu, of Makakilo, said he doesn't know the girl and referred any comments about the incident to his lawyer, who couldn't be reached last night.

A spokeswoman for Oahu Transit Services, which operates TheBus, said Nuuanu worked for the company for 37 years and was on unpaid leave. "We do take this seriously," the spokeswoman said, adding that OTS is complying with the Honolulu Police Department's investigation.

According to court documents, the girl said she knew Nuuanu from previous rides on the bus and that he molested her about 10 a.m. Tuesday. After parking bus 150 near Farrington Highway and Lawaia Street, Nuuanu sat next to the girl in the bus. He hugged her and started kissing her on the lips, then moved his hand under her shirt and touched her breast, the documents said.

About six years ago, Nuuanu pleaded no contest to tax evasion and was ordered to pay $14,000 in restitution.

The collision that killed his daughters and granddaughter happened 13 years ago as Nuuanu followed his daughter's car on Farrington Highway. He witnessed the drunken driver cross the center line and slam into his daughter's car head-on.

Over the years, Nuuanu has given talks to high schools for MADD and helped others deal with grief. "It (the award) meant a lot to me because you learn how to forgive," he said yesterday. "If that guy did something wrong, then you can forgive him."






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