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New trial set for HPD officer accused of sex assault

By Nelson Daranciang

LAST UPDATED: 5:36 a.m. HST, Mar 1, 2011

In a case of he said versus she said, a state jury couldn't decide who to believe — a Honolulu police officer or an admitted prostitute.

After a week-long trial and a day of deliberation, the six men and six women of the jury told the judge Monday they could not reach a unanimous verdict on a single second-degree sexual assault charge against officer Michael Tarmoun.

Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario scheduled a new trial in June in front of a different jury.

The now 22-year-old now-former prostitute said Tarmoun picked her up in Waikiki 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, 38, said he didn't have sex with the woman.

He testified that he picked her up on Kuhio Avenue about 5 a.m. after he got off work. He was assigned to the fourth watch in Waikiki with other rookies a few days shy of completing his probation at the time. The Honolulu Police Department says Tarmoun is now on restricted duty with no police powers pending the outcome of its internal investigation.

Tarmoun said he thought the woman was a tourist looking to "hook up" so he took her to his girlfriend's apartment where he planned to "have some fun."

His girlfriend testified the apartment is hers and that she was out of town at the time.

His wife testified the car in which Tarmoun picked up the prostitute is registered to him.

Tarmoun said he realized the woman was a prostitute when she asked him for money. He said he at first threatened to arrest her then decided to take her back to Waikiki. 

The woman said she didn't realize Tarmoun was a police officer until she saw his uniform top and badge in the trunk of his car at the apartment. She said she then realized Tarmoun was still wearing his uniform trousers when he picked her up.

She said she reported what happened to her to another prostitute who reported it to a police officer. The woman said police tried to get a statement from her but she did not want to make a police report because she did not tell her pimp what had happened.

She said she decided to make a police report in March 2010 after she learned Tarmoun was taken off restriction and was going back on the street.

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