Honolulu Enterprise Services Director Guy Kaulukukui was placed on paid leave effective Monday after city officials learned he was the subject of a lawsuit filed against him and Kamehameha Schools alleging that he sexually abused a student when he was a teacher there in the 1980s.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said in a statement that he became aware of the complaint against Kaulukukui and Kamehameha Schools over the weekend.
“Director Kaulukukui was put on administrative leave with pay, effective Monday, April 27, 2020,” the mayor said.
In recent weeks Kaulukukui had been front-and-center at Caldwell’s coronavirus news conferences because he headed the city’s controversial effort to obtain testing kits from Texas-based EverlyWell. But he was missing from the mayor’s last news conference Tuesday where Managing Director Roy Amemiya gave an update on the project.
As director of the Department of Enterprise Services, Kaulukukui makes $166,560 annually.
The lawsuit, filed Friday anonymously by a woman who lists herself as Jane Doe, accused Kaulukukui of being “a pedophilliac predator who groomed, manipulated, sexually exploited and sexually assaulted” her both on and off Kamehameha’s Kapalama Heights campus.
The lawsuit said Kamehameha was informed of “Kaulukukui’s extensive abuse” of the student in the late 1980s and failed to act.
“Kamehameha Schools’ intentional disregard and deliberate indifference enabled defendant Kaulukukui to forever alter the course of the plaintiff’s life,” the lawsuit alleges.
Kaulukukui could not be reached for comment.
Kamehameha Schools, in a statement, said, “We are saddened by the tragic events described by our former Kamehameha students. We honor and appreciate the strength and courage it took for them to come forward. They are part of our ʻohana. We care for all of them and will continue to work with them to do what is pono.”
The lawsuit said the student was “a carefree and free-spirited child from Molokai” who, at 14, began studying at Kamehameha as a freshman in the fall of 1984. She also boarded on the campus.
Kaulukukui, who was then 25, initiated an inappropriate relationship with the plaintiff in spring 1985 when she was 15 and a sophomore, and it continued until sometime in 1987, the lawsuit said.
For a time the student returned home to Molokai and attended Molokai High School. Kaulukukui flew to Molokai multiple times to see her, and the abusive relationship continued, the lawsuit said.
Caldwell named Kaulukukui as enterprise services director in April 2015. The Department of Enterprise Services oversees the Honolulu Zoo, Blaisdell Center and Waikiki Shell, as well as other moneymaking ventures of the city.
Before working for the city, Kaulukukui headed Kealapono LLC, a company he founded which advised government and community organizations on cultural matters.
Prior to that he was a deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under former Gov. Neil Abercrombie. For a time he was a Honolulu City Council aide. He had also served as vice president for cultural services at Bishop Museum and was associate director of the Kohala Center.
Kaulukukui is the second Caldwell appointee to go on paid leave as a result of a court case. Corporation Counsel Donna Leong has been on paid leave since January 2019 after she received a target letter from the U.S. Department of Justice informing her that the agency is looking into her role in the Honolulu Police Commission’s decision to pay former Chief Louis Kealoha a $250,000 separation agreement.
Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has been on paid administrative leave since March 2019 after he received a target letter believed to be tied to the Kealoha investigation. His elected, four-year term runs through the end of this year.