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Waipahu track coach acquitted of sexually assaulting student

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:59 p.m. HST, Sep 12, 2013

A Circuit Court jury has acquitted a Waipahu High School track coach and teacher of sexually assaulting a girl on the track team in 2010 and 2011.

Erik Tamura  was accused of molesting the teenager during her sophomore and junior years at school and once at her home.

The jury returned its verdict this afternoon.The panel had been deliberating since Wednesday afternoon after hearing closing arguments.

He was on trial on three counts of third-degree sexual assault, and if convicted would have faced for each count a prison term of up to five years.

City Deputy Prosecutor Victoria Chang had told the jury that the teenager had no motive to lie in testifying about the embarrassing details of sexual assaults.

Tamura's lawyer Kenneth Shimozono had maintained that the sexual assaults never happened and the girl's motive to lie was that Tamura had stopped coaching her. The girl feared that her future in track would be jeopardized, Shimozono argued.

He said the case was about "teenage revenge."  

Tamura, an English teacher who also had taught the girl, was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest in February 2012.  

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pauliboy wrote:
I knew he would be innocent. From the beginning of the trial, this story never seemed like he was guilty. More like he was the victim. Hope he can regain his life from where it was before this nightmare began. Really feel sorry for him. Good luck and stay strong!
on September 12,2013 | 06:07PM
kaupena wrote:
Agreed. Good job Mr. Shimozono for bringing out the true facts.
on September 12,2013 | 06:23PM
pcman wrote:
Mark my words. School children will be afraid to blow the whistle on their teachers and coaches for sexual abuse. Further, this verdict will embolden teachers and coaches to take advantage of their students and athletes. The members of the jury should have considered the after-effects of a "not guilty" verdict .
on September 12,2013 | 09:21PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
No. The jury should only consider whether this man was guilty or whether there was reasonable doubt.
on September 12,2013 | 09:27PM
BO0o07 wrote:
Agree. Either guilty or not guilty, that's the law. Teachers already have to "walk a tight rope" when dealing with students.
on September 12,2013 | 10:01PM
scooters wrote:
on September 12,2013 | 10:10PM
droid wrote:
Mark my words, this verdict restores the public’s trust in our system of justice. If we start judging cases based on the “after effects” instead of the facts, we are no longer a nation of laws, but of nation of witch hunts. Tell me you don’t want to take us back to 17th-century New England.
on September 13,2013 | 12:44AM
Grimbold wrote:
The student should now be punished!
on September 12,2013 | 11:14PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Just like Johnny Manziel, this guy got off.
on September 12,2013 | 06:18PM
And it is a good thing-the dude was innocent.
on September 12,2013 | 06:24PM
sccoutt wrote:
I agree with pauliboy- it seemed fishy from the get go. I feel sorry for him, though. Name dragged through the mud for over a year? He should sue her for defamation of character or something!
on September 12,2013 | 06:22PM
kiragirl wrote:
At least he was being paid for doing nothing.
on September 12,2013 | 06:58PM
pcman wrote:
IRT scout on defamation. Actually, the girl's parents can still bring a civil suit against the teacher and moreso the DOE for fostering sexual abuse between teachers and students. Actually, the person who will suffer the most is the girl because she was more vulnerable mentally and morally. Finally, the parents of the girl need to take some blame for allowing the teacher, a family friend and golfing buddy with the father, to take advantage of the girl. I was surprised the teacher got off so easy. Teachers should never get too close to students of the opposite sex, friend of the family or not. I was once taught long ago that whether you are right or wrong, "if it looks bad, it is bad."
on September 12,2013 | 07:04PM
dontbelieveinmyths wrote:
Are you kidding me? Accused is almost as good as guilty. How about we give the name of the accuser so we can avoid her.
on September 12,2013 | 08:36PM
sailfish1 wrote:
What are you talking about? The guy was acquitted which means that he did not "take advantage of the girl".
on September 12,2013 | 10:09PM
Anonymous wrote:
Stupid statements. Did you read the article? The man was found innocent. I'm curious about how you'd react if you were falsely accused of a crime. Based on you're comments you'd have to plead guilty since it wouldn't matter that you're right.
on September 12,2013 | 10:31PM
PinkSushi wrote:
Is the prosecutor the same Vistoria Chang that was a track standout at Punahou in the late 1990's?
on September 12,2013 | 06:47PM
Grimbold wrote:
These cases where it is just one word against the other have to stop!
on September 12,2013 | 11:15PM
Giligan wrote:
If the girl lied, she deserves to be punished in life. If he is innocent, he lived through a nightmare.
on September 13,2013 | 05:56AM
Imagen wrote:
Oh she will get hers someday. Funny thing about karma; it will rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time in her life, and the sad thing is she will still say, "why me? what did I do to deserve this?"
on September 13,2013 | 12:03PM
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