POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 15, 2011
A Honolulu police officer was found guilty Tuesday of forcing a Waikiki prostitute to have sex with him nearly two years ago by threatening her with arrest.
A Circuit Court jury convicted Michael Tarmoun, 38, of second-degree sexual assault. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in September. He remains free on $50,000 bail.
The Police Department said Tarmoun is on paid administrative leave. He had been on restricted duty since the beginning of the criminal investigation.
This was the second jury to hear the case. The first was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in February.
The 22-year-old former prostitute said Tarmoun picked her up in Waikiki on July 19, 2009, took her to a Piikoi Street apartment and threatened to put her in jail if she didn't do as he said. After they had sex, the woman said, Tarmoun took her back to Waikiki and gave her $5 after she told him she was hungry.
Tarmoun said he didn't have sex with the woman. He said he thought the woman was a tourist looking to "hook up" when he picked her up at about 5 a.m. after completing his overnight shift for rookie officers in Waikiki.
Tarmoun's wife had testified that the car he was driving when he picked up the prostitute is registered to her husband.
Tarmoun's girlfriend testified that the Piikoi Street apartment is hers and that she was out of town at the time.
Tarmoun said he realized the woman was a prostitute only after she told him he would have to pay for having sex with her. He said he threatened to have her arrested because he was angry, but then decided to return the woman to Waikiki.
Tarmoun testified that on the ride back, "I was counseling her that what she is doing is wrong, it's immoral, that she needs to go to school, get a job."
He said she left after he gave her the $5.
"I don't think she even said thank you," Tarmoun said.
The woman told another prostitute about what happened, who in turn reported it to a police officer. Police tried to get a statement from the woman, but she said she did not want to make a report because she didn't want her pimp to find out.
She said she decided to make a statement in March 2010 after she learned the Police Department had taken Tarmoun off restriction and that he was going back on the street.