Elementary school custodian charged with sexually assaulting boy

UPDATE: Prosecutors want to dismiss the charges against a former school custodian accused of sexually assaulting a boy at an Oahu campus.

A school custodian at a Central Oahu elementary school is charged with sexually assaulting a student on campus.

According to police and court records, James Holt, 53, was arrested last Wednesday at Kanoelani Elementary School in Waipio after school hours.

Parents KHON2 talked to Tuesday say they’re upset and wondering why they weren’t immediately notified about the incident.

“I was pretty shocked. This is the first I’m hearing about it,” said parent Kim Shinzawa.

“I’m not sure why this incident didn’t make it to everyone as soon as possible,” said another parent.

“It bothers me right now,” said parent Ricardo Gregorio.

Kanoelani Elementary, Waipio
Kanoelani Elementary, Waipio

KHON2 emailed and called the DOE wanting to know why parents weren’t notified and to learn more about its hiring policy. Holt had been employed by the DOE for 14 years.

We also went to Kanoelani to talk to the school principal or vice principals, but were told they were not available.

Then, at the end of the school day, students were sent home with a letter informing parents and guardians about the arrest.

It also gave families a heads up that the story would be airing on KHON2.

KHON2 talked to some parents again after they were officially notified. They felt this letter was more of a reaction to our questions.

“To happen, wait for a week to go by or almost a week, it’s disturbing,” Gregorio said.

In an e-mail, the DOE said the letter was sent home Tuesday since there was no school last week Friday and Monday was a holiday.

The department also said “background checks are conducted before anyone is employed at a Hawaii State Department of Education school.”

In the letter to parents, school officials also said “Procedures for safety are practiced regularly and staff will continue to be extremely vigilant in keeping a safe environment.”

Holt will appear in court Thursday morning.

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