Police charged a 73-year-old former prison inmate yesterday with seven counts of sexual assault for allegedly making unwelcome advances to female volunteers in a church food pantry.
Cyril Ho Sung Chung, of a Pauahi Street address, was held at the police cellblock on $14,000 bail on the misdemeanor fourth-degree sexual assault charges.
Three women and a 16-year-old girl told police that Chung touched them and made sexually suggestive comments on several occasions while they worked in the St. Patrick Church Outreach center in Palolo Valley.
One woman said all four quit as volunteers three months ago because they felt threatened and their complaints to the outreach director and the church pastor went unheeded. The women asked not to be identified.
Chung was banned from the food pantry in March because of the complaints, said the Rev. Clarence Guerreiro.
"We behaved properly as soon as we found out the information," he said.
Chung has served prison time for bank robbery, most recently convicted in 1981, according to the state Criminal Justice Data Center.
The pastor said Chung was one of several former prisoners from a halfway house who help out at the food pantry.
"If he was a sex abuser, he wouldn’t be here," Guerreiro said. "The ex-cons are willing to come and unload goods … supposedly a good thing for us."
Food pantry manager Patricia Kaslausky said Chung became a volunteer about two years ago. She said men in the faith-based First LAP program often help with heavy lifting.
Kaslausky said she did not witness inappropriate sexual behavior at the food pantry, which occupies the former St. James chapel.
The pastor said the women wrote a complaint letter to the head of his religious order, the Rev. Christopher Keahi, provincial superior of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Guerreiro said he met three weeks ago with the women and several other outreach volunteers who complained about the sexual harassment and sought to have the outreach manager ousted.
Star-Advertiser reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.