In a breaking international news video, a Big Island farmer is found living in hiding in Florida, after his victims in Hawaii came forward to sue him for child sexual abuse.
A VICE News exclusive investigation: Hippie guru Jay Ram was hailed as a public hero for fostering, adopting, and caring for dozens of boys that had nowhere else to go. But years later, a new picture has emerged. Several of his sons have come forward to say that he preyed on them sexually and forced them to recruit other boys to molest. VICE News has uncovered new evidence that shows that charities and child welfare agencies missed several clear warning signs, and continued to place new children in Ram’s care. Until now, he has never faced justice.
…I remember the first time going up there,” says Carlos, now burly and bearded with a large tribal tattoo on his bald scalp. “It was on a big, dry ranch. It was really hot, and I saw all these boys, different nationalities. I said, ‘Wow! Where’s the mom?’ I wasn’t really thinking about it because I saw all these boys having fun…. They could cuss. It’s like they could do whatever they wanted there. And you know, it was cool.”
Just two weeks later, Ram abruptly moved to the Big Island of Hawaii with some of the boys. Shortly thereafter, he was approved to adopt them, and the boys became brothers. As a family, they lived together on a sprawling but secluded property nestled amongst cane fields, dramatic cliffs overlooking the deep blue Pacific, and rolling hills covered with thick rainforest. It looked like paradise. It was anything but.
Alleged victims told us Ram set up a ranking system for the boys, pitting them against one another in a competition for clothes, food, and his affection.
“You were either a ‘Snoot’ or a ‘Louse,’” explains Jared Legro, who met Ram’s boys at a local surf spot and began spending time at their home. He says that Snoots got special treatment, like desserts or trips to the mall or new surfboards. They were also “rewarded” with a chance to sleep with Ram…
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The video, produced by VICE NEWS out of New York, tells the story of former Hakalau farmer Jay Ram, who adopted dozens of boys in California and Hawaii. He then used the boys for sex and slave labor. Ram has been featured in numerous print stories in Hilo. http://westhawaiitoday.com/news/local-news/former-hakalau-sex-abuse-suspect-located-florida
The video also shows how social services had complaints against Ram dating back almost a decade, but failed to protect the boys in Ram’s care.
The boys were able to sue Ram for abuse because of a landmark Hawaii “window” law that allows victims of child sex abuse to use the civil courts for justice, no matter when the abuse occurred. The law expires on April 24.