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Sex assault charge against school custodian dropped


City prosecutors Thursday dismissed a charge that a 53-year-old substitute school custodian sexually assaulted a five-year-old boy, according to a defense attorney.

A spokesman for the prosector’s office said the case was dismissed because the parents of the victim do not want to pursue the case.

James Holt, who had been a state Department of Education employee since 2000, was arrested at Kanoelani Elementary School Aug. 27 on suspicion of first-degree sexual assault. The charge was later dropped to the lesser offense of third-degree sexual assault.

Defense attorney Victor Bakke said he plans to ask a District Court judge at an Oct. 24 hearing to dismiss the case with prejudice so charges cannot be reinstated.

Bakke said Holt, who has been free after posting $50,000 bond, was “devastated” by the accusation,

Bakke said the five-year-old victim was “not a credible witness” having only gotten only a glimpse of a man who “poked him the back” and ran out the door.

“He didn’t even get a look at the guy,” except to say that he  “had lotion on his hand. He was bigger and older than my dad and was wearing  a cowboy hat.”

The identification procedure used by the police  at Kanoelani Elementary School in Waipio Gentry couple of hours later was improper, Bakke added

Bakke said one officer was with the child while another officer walked Holt down the sidewalk toward the child, Bakke said.

“They get to where they are five feet from each other,” Bakke said, “the kid freezes. Then they say is that him. He (child) doesn’t say anything.

“Then they say, ‘Is that him. Or isn’t that him?’ and the kid says, ‘yeah.’ That’s it.” 

Bakke said Holt was arrested and spent the weekend in jail until he was charged Monday with a lesser offense of third-degree sex assault.

Third-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

After the arrest, the Department of Education said it was conducting its own investigation, during which Holt is banned from the campus.

There was no immediate response from the DOE Friday morning concerning Holt’s status.

Bakke said he plans to meet with DOE officials to get Holt reinstated.

Bakke said the only thing Holt was told by the DOE was that he shouldn’t return to the Waipio campus.

Holt was a substitute custodian and was scheduled to be at the elementary school that serves 740 students in kindergarten through sixth grade for “only three or four more months,” Bakke said.

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