Maui News

Kamehameha Schools Issues Apology Letter Amid Sex Abuse Case

December 8, 2017, 8:53 AM HST
* Updated December 8, 9:01 AM
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Kamehameha Schools today issued an apology to victims of Dr. Robert Browne, Chief of Psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital–the man at the center of a sex abuse scandal for alleged incidents between 1962 and 1984.

In the apology letter, issued by Kamehameha Schools CEO Jack Wong, leaders at the institution apologized to victims and their families saying more is expected of the school.

The letter further stated that, “after abuses were reported, not nearly enough was done.”

Wong said the school will not allow incidents of abuse to go unnoticed, unreported, or unaddressed, and is “working tirelessly to make amends.”

The message from Wong, was addressed to the Kamehameha Schools ʻohana and the full text of the letter is included in its entirety below:

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December 8, 2017

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Aloha pumehana kākou,

Kamehameha Schools is the living legacy of our Princess, Bernice Pauahi Bishop. She envisioned a vibrant future for the Hawaiian people and knew that education would be critical to their success. As CEO of Kamehameha Schools and servant of the Princess, I look forward to working every day to ensure that her dreams are realized so Native Hawaiians can rise in their own homeland and beyond.

As we recount some 130 years of pride and accomplishment by Native Hawaiians, no one — neither the Schools, nor the community — was prepared for the horrific revelation that our precious haumāna were secretly abused and physically and emotionally traumatized from 1962-1984 by Dr. Robert Browne, Chief of Psychiatry at St. Francis Hospital. And, after abuses were reported, not nearly enough was done. Truly, this represents the very darkest days for an institution charged with caring for and educating the most innocent among us, our keiki.

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On behalf of Kamehameha Schools, I’d like to take this time to apologize to these victims of Dr. Browne and their families who suffered alongside them. Kamehameha Schools is deeply and truly sorry.

I’d also like to express to our Hawaiian community, and especially to all of our haumāna and their ʻohana, our sincere apologies for doubts these incidents may have raised about the leadership and conduct of the institution and legacy we belong to, revere, and fight for. More is expected of us.

We are working tirelessly to make amends, and this is my promise to you:

We will do what is pono for these victims of Dr. Browne’s abuse.

We will not allow incidents of abuse to go unnoticed, unreported, or unaddressed.

We will listen, learn, improve, and work hard every day to keep our keiki secure and safe.

It is with fullest humility that I express my heartfelt aloha to the victims, their ʻohana, and others who have suffered and to the many alumni, staff, community members and leaders who have challenged us to do more. In this season of hope and light, I pray blessings upon us all as we work our way forward together to bring healing and justice to the hurt, and restore honor and pride to our Princess and her people to whom we are forever devoted.

Ke aloha o Ke Akua me kākou a pau,

Jack Wong
CEO

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