22 Feb 2018

Abused students' complaints ignored at Hawaiian school

8:19 pm on 22 February 2018

A lawyer in Honolulu representing students who suffered decades of horrific abuse at the hands of a doctor says victim complaints were ignored by staff and key evidence destroyed to protect the school's reputation.

Kamehameha Schools has now agreed to pay out a record $US80 million to 32 victims who had been referred to psychiatrist Robert Browne for behavioural and psychological therapy as children.

Those children referrals fell victim to secret sexual abuse as well as physical and emotional trauma by Browne who never faced charges or served time for his offending over 27 years, as he committed suicide in 1991.

Busy intersection on Kalakaua Avenue on April 27, 2014 in Waikiki, Hawaii Kalakaua Avenue is the favorite luxury shopping strip for tourists visiting Hawaii

Pedestrians in Waikiki, Hawaii Photo: Copyright: jewhyte / 123RF Stock Photo

Attorney Michael Green said it was good the school had faced up to its failings, especially as there were many more male victims.

"They admitted that these boys were molested and they admitted that there was certainly injury to them and their families because some of these men never told their children, never told their wives, never told their significant others out of shame.

"Interestingly all of them suffered some form of rage, drugs and alcohol in their lifetime and some committed suicide, some went to their graves without ever having their story told," Mr Green said.

Mr Green said the school had also agreed to do more to prevent such abuse and now offered an independently run hotline service for students to report any abuse on campus.

It is also taking a lawsuit against St Francis Hospital where Browne worked as chief of psychiatry at the time of his offending.

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