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Amazon will keep ‘Peter Boy’ book series in online store

  • COURTESY OF JAMES AND YOLANDA ACOL / MAY 2005

    “Peter Boy” Kema Jr.

HILO >> Amazon will not take down a book series on the abuse and death of “Peter Boy” Kema from its online store despite a request from the lawyer who represents the boy’s estate and his now-adult siblings, a company official said.

Honolulu lawyer Randall Rosenberg claims the book series by former state Department of Human Services Director Lillian Koller series re-victimizes Peter “Peter Boy” Kema Jr.’s surviving siblings by outlining the “heinous” abuse they endured, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported. Rosenberg considers the series an invasion of the siblings’ privacy and a violation of a 1999 Hawaii Supreme Court decision.

The boy’s father, Peter Kema Sr., was sentenced to 20 years in jail for manslaughter in connection to his son’s 1997 death. His mother, Jaylin Kema, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in “Peter Boy’s” death.

Koller has released two books from the series, and is planning to publish two more.

“I have a hard time imagining what goes through this woman’s head as she publishes these books,” Rosenberg said. “I don’t know what her purpose is other than is she going to make a buck out of this thing.

Koller did not respond to the newspaper’s phone calls and emails.

Amazon’s Corporate Counsel Corinne Mattli said in a July 31 letter that the electronic commerce company is not responsible for “reviewing, investigating and determining the legality” of statements made in each book it sells in response to Rosenberg’s earlier letter to Amazon Senior Vice President David Zapolsky.

Amazon “believe(s) strongly that providing open access to written speech, no matter how controversial, is one of the most important things we do” and is “a service that the United States Constitution protects,” Mattli said in the letter.

She suggests Rosenberg address his concern directly to Koller.

Rosenberg told the newspaper Wednesday that a law firm is considering whether it will accept a claim against Amazon and others on behalf of the siblings.

“I want to make sure that they’re in the hands of somebody that’s capable and has experience in that area,” he said. “Amazon is the juggernaut in the industry, so it has to be someone who is very experienced and quite confident on what the outcome is going to be before they launch into it.”

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