Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Ensuring Emergency Compassionate Care for Female Sexual Assault Victims

The rights of female sexual assault victims were strengthened today as Gov. Neil Abercrombie enacted legislation to ensure that they are provided accurate, unbiased information about and access to emergency contraception when receiving emergency medical care at Hawaii’s hospitals.


House Bill 411, relating to “Hospital Emergency Compassionate Care for Sexual Assault Victims,” was enacted as Act 27, thereby establishing provisions that require any hospital in Hawaii to provide information about, offer and, if accepted or requested, dispense emergency contraception to a female sexual assault victim arriving for emergency services. Such services must be provided even if a female refuses to undergo a forensic examination or refuses to report the alleged sexual assault to law enforcement. Penalties are established for non-compliance.

“It is our duty as a society to ensure that any individual who has been traumatized by a sexual assault receives compassionate care, and this legislation underscores a woman’s right to choose contraception when faced with the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Due to the commitment and persistence of many local advocates and legislators – some whose efforts extend back more than a decade – this legislation will protect the health and safety of Hawaii’s sexual assault victims and guarantee that they receive the medically accepted standard of care.”

Similar to a measure proposed by the Abercrombie Administration (HB878/SB1109), HB411 was introduced by the House Women’s Caucus, which includes Reps. Della Au Belatti, Rida T.R. Cabanilla, Mele Carroll, Faye P. Hanohano, Linda Ichiyama, Jo Jordan, Nicole E. Lowen, Sylvia Luke, Dee Morikawa, Cynthia Thielen, and Jessica Wooley.

A companion measure was also introduced in the Senate by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Josh Green, Michelle Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Maile Shimabukuro, Jill Tokuda, and Laura Thielen.

Former legislators who have championed the legislation for many years are Annelle Amaral, Marilyn Lee, Barbara Marumoto, and Hermina Morita (current chairperson of the Public Utilities Commission).

The state Attorney General’s office reported that there were 350 reported cases of forcible rape in Hawaii in 2011. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than half of all rapes are not reported to the police. The average rate of pregnancy resulting from rape is between 5 and 8 percent with an estimated 32,000 rape-related pregnancies occurring every year in the United States. Emergency contraception is considered a safe and effective means of preventing pregnancy after a sexual assault and is recognized as the standard of care for sexual assault patients.

Other bills recently signed by the Governor include:

Senate Bill 409, relating to “Mahina ‘Olelo Hawai’i” – Enacted today as Act 28, the measure was proposed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to designate February ‘Olelo Hawai’i Month in Hawaii to celebrate and encourage the use of the Hawaiian language, an official language of the State of Hawaii. The bill was written in Hawaiian and translated into English. In February, Gov. Abercrombie proclaimed the month ‘Olelo Hawai’i Month through an executive proclamation. The measure makes the observation an official annual occurrence.

House Bill 868, relating to “Eliminating the Asset Limit Eligibility Requirement for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program” – Enacted April 18 as Act 18, the measure was proposed by the Abercrombie Administration to remove asset limit requirements that were required for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Previously, the law allowed a total of $5,000 in assets and the value of one motor vehicle in determining eligibility for financial assistance. Households must still meet income eligibility requirements. This measure encourages families to save money and build assets to enable self-sufficiency. The legislation is aligned with the Governor’s New Day objective of developing asset-building programs that fight poverty, help families move toward self-sufficiency, and support the growth of the middle class.

The state Legislature maintains a list of 2013 Acts here.


Big Island Police Seeking Hamakua Man Wanted in Connection with Sex Assault

Big Island police are requesting the public’s help in locating a 27-year-old Hāmākua man wanted for questioning in connection with a reported sexual assault of an adult female at a South Kohala public beach during the early morning hours of December 28.

Eagle Adam Tobin

Detectives are seeking Eagle Adam Tobin, last known to have lived in Waipio Valley and Honokaʻa town. He is described as Caucasian, 5-foot-10, 170 pounds with brown hair, brown eyes, a medium build and a fair to lightly-tanned complexion.

Detectives with the Juvenile Aid Section—which is responsible for sexual assault investigations—are continuing this investigation.

Police ask that anyone with information on Tobin’s location call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

Big Island Police Searching for Man Wanted for Kidnapping and Attempted Sex Assault of Female Child This Morning

*EDIT 10:12 am* Suspect has been located and arrested in attempted child sex assault case. Details to come. Mahalo to the public!

Big Island police are searching for a man wanted for the attempted kidnapping and attempted sexual assault of a female child in a restroom at a Hilo public school this morning (September 20).

The child managed to escape from the man, who was last seen on Kapiolani Street heading in the direction of Haili Street around 6:30 a.m.

He is described as a man in his 30s with a brown complexion, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds with 2-to-3-inch-long brown or black hair and no facial hair. He was wearing a dark red nylon track suit with white shoulders and elastic cuffs at the wrists. He had on large white wireless headphones and may have been riding a two-wheel bicycle.

Police are very anxious to identify and apprehend this predator before any child is hurt and, therefore, ask that anyone with information on his identity or whereabouts call 911 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Puna Man Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Female Hitchhiker

Big Island police have arrested a 22-year-old Puna man in connection with the 2010 sexual assault of a female hitchhiker. John Tak was taken into custody last Thursday (August 25) without incident at his Puna home. Friday evening (August 26) detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section charged him with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and second-degree theft.

John Tak

John Tak

The charges stem from a report police received on August 4, 2010, from an adult female who said that between 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m she was hitchhiking on Highway 11 in the area of the Panaewa Zoo. A young man unknown to her stopped and offered her a ride. She reported that he drove her into the Hawaiian Acres subdivision, where he sexually assaulted her.

Tak is being held at the Hilo police cellblock in lieu of $250,000 pending his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (August 29) in South Hilo District Court.

Detectives have not yet determined whether this was an isolated incident or if additional similar events have gone unreported.