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$100,000 Settlement in Suit Over Hawaii Guard’s Sexual Assault of Prisoner

by Matt Clarke

The State of Hawaii and a former prison guard have each agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a female prisoner who was sexually assaulted.

Stormy Rae Smith was serving a five-year sentence at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Honolulu for car theft and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia when guard Irwin Ah Hoy twice instructed other officers to send Smith to his control booth. Once she arrived, Ah Hoy, who had worked for Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) for 15 years, forced her into a staff-only restroom and sexually assaulted her. The second sexual assault left Ah Hoy’s semen and pubic hairs on Smith’s underwear.

Smith gave her underwear to an attorney, who turned it over to the police. Ah Hoy was fired and indicted on two counts each of second- and third-degree sexual assault. [See: PLN, Oct. 2013, p.56].

The guard claimed he suffered from a medical condition that caused him to have painful, involuntary erections. He said he had relieved that condition in a bathroom, and Smith took the toilet tissue he used to catch the semen and fabricated her sexual assault claims to frame him. However, Ah Hoy could not provide any documentation of his claimed medical condition and had not previously disclosed it to his family or to DPS.

His claims also lacked credibility because Smith would have had to get out of her locked cell undetected, gain entry to a control booth and open a bathroom that was secured with a deadbolt lock, according to her attorney, Myles S. Breiner. Ah Hoy pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to five years of probation, including 18 months in prison.

He was scheduled to be released on January 28, 2017 but petitioned the court to free him a week early so he could see his son compete in the Polynesian Bowl all-star high-school football game on January 21. The judge granted the request two days before the game.

Ah Hoy, who has maintained his claims of having a medical condition and being framed by Smith, has “never apologized or expressed remorse. He has never accepted responsibility,” according to Breiner, who helped Smith file suit against the guard and DPS employees alleging civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and related state torts.

The case was removed to federal court, and Ah Hoy agreed to settle his part of the suit for $50,000 on September 1, 2017. Separately, the state settled the remainder of Smith’s claims for another $50,000. See: Smith v. State of Hawaii, U.S.D.C. (D. Hawaii), Case No. 1:14-cv-00432-LEN. 

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Related legal case

Smith v. State of Hawaii