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Waipahu track coach acquitted of sexually assaulting student

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 5:59 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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