Police arrested 16 women over the weekend in an apparent crackdown on prostitution in massage parlors.
However, instead of arresting the women and charging them with prostitution, undercover officers are charging the women with fourth-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor.
In Hawaii, misdemeanors are those crimes that are punishable by up to one year in jail. Conviction of prostitution is a petty misdemeanor — the least serious type of criminal offense in Hawaii, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The arrests began Thursday night with eight women, between the ages of 24 to 48, picked up at establishments near Ala Moana Center.
Police said the operation was conducted in response to public complaints.
The arrests continued Friday and Saturday nights with eight more women arrested on the same sexual assault charge.
All of the women posted bail and have District Court dates beginning at the end of the month.
Fourth-degree sexual assault is defined as sexual contact between two individuals.
Two of the women have been arrested previously for alleged prostitution, but their cases never went to trial because the arresting officers couldn’t make their court dates.
Ex-probation officer charged with felonies
A 56-year-old former Oahu Circuit Court probation officer is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges of theft and forgery, the attorney general’s office announced Monday.
Freeman Sasao was charged with one count of felony theft and 11 counts of felony forgery.
Sasao allegedly collected 11 payments from various probationers assigned to him, from July 1, 2011, through July 9, 2013, and kept the payments for his own use, the attorney general’s office said in a news release.
Truck hits, injures man beside highway
A 43-year-old Honolulu man was critically injured Monday afternoon when he was struck by a vehicle while he was loading items into his SUV on the side of Kalanianaole Highway near the Makapuu Lookout.
Police said the man sustained massive leg injuries and was taken in critical condition to the Queen’s Medical Center.
Police said a pickup truck driven by a 75-year-old man north on Kalanianaole Highway veered off the road and struck the victim at 3:07 p.m.
Honolulu police closed Kalanianaole Highway between the entrance to Sea Life Park and the Makapuu Lookout for more than three hours following the incident.