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Second Hawaii Sex Assault Case Settled for $25,000

The state of Hawaii has agreed to settle with a second prisoner who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a former warden while imprisoned at the Maui Community Correctional Center, as reported in a February 9, 2007 article in the Honolulu Advertiser.

According to the settlement, the victim, Viki Wong, who claimed Warden Albert Murashige inappropriately touched and fondled her in his office, will receive $25,000. The case did not result in criminal charges against the warden.

An earlier case, however, did. In that case, Murashige pled no contest to one count each of second and third degree sexual assault and two counts of second degree attempted sexual assault. He was sentenced in June 2004 to one year incarceration and five years probation, and served 11 months in a federal prison. The state settled a related civil suit in 2006 for $95,000. See: Jane Roe v. Murashige, Maui Court, Second Circuit, Case No. 05-1-000008.

An investigation of Murashige was started after state Rep. Kika Bukoski received a letter from one of the victimized female prisoners and forwarded it to the attorney general?s office.

Deputy Attorney General Caron Inagaki said the victim in the second lawsuit resulting in a $25,000 settlement came forward after the first sexual assault case was made public. ?There was a lot of skepticism about this particular claim,? Inagaki said. ?We were willing to take this to trial but it just seemed that it was a small enough settlement that we went ahead and settled it.?

Myles Breiner, the attorney representing the former prisoner in the latest lawsuit, said ?the state conceded [Murashige] acted inappropriately with the sexual misconduct with this inmate.? Breiner went on to say that state investigators interviewed his client several times and that ?our understanding was that had Murashige not admitted to criminal culpability in the underlying case ? they would have proceeded to charge him in this second case.?

Sexual contact between corrections employees and prisoners is a felony under Hawaii state law. See: Viki Wong v. State of Hawaii, Maui Circuit Court, 2nd Circuit, Case No. 04-1-000399.


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Related legal case

Jane Roe v. Murashige