At around 7:30 a.m. Friday, a 14-year-old girl was heading to Kalakaua Middle School in Kalihi. She was walking on Self Lane when she was approached by a man in a pickup truck who gave her some cash.
What the suspect said next was disturbing. He told her to watch him touch himself. The girl then realized he had no pants on — just a cloth covering him up. She handed him back the money and got away. The suspect also fled the scene.
Neighbors we spoke to say people frequently use this street as a shortcut.
“Are there a lot of younger people that walk around this area?” KHON2 asked.
“Oh yeah. Because all this children going Kalakaua and then the Kalihi Kai. Yeah, they pass through over here every time,” said Gloria Orosco, who lives on Self Lane in Kalihi.
We wanted to know how children and young adults can be better equipped in these scenarios. So we spoke to an expert to find out.
Leighton Kaonohi, Sr. is a former Honolulu Police Department officer who founded Officer Honolulu’s Keiki Safety Program. He says from 1988 to 2000, the program reached more than one million children across the country.
“The safety program is meant to give kids a very comprehensive tool that can put them on the offensive,” said Kaonohi.
Kaonohi teaches them how to identify strangers and recommends using the buddy system.
“First you travel in a group. And if you’re approached, even before they say hi, you point at the stranger and you scream, ‘Stop! You’re not my dad! Help! Help! Call 911!'” said Kaonohi. “Now what I’ve just did is I’ve alerted everybody here that this person isn’t my dad. Then I called for help. Then I gave them permission to call 911.”
He says it’s all about preventing the conversation from starting.
“Now, I’ve had children ask me, ‘But are all strangers bad?’ No. But that’s not your decision to make. You treat them all the same. And if it’s a good guy, they’ll understand. Hey, right on. If it’s a bad guy, not the case,” said Kaonohi.
If you’re walking, be alert. Make sure to scan the area from right to left.
“And what that tells the people around you is that I see you. I’m certain that, that girl that was stopped had no idea that she was being stalked. Otherwise, she would’ve seen him first. But if you’re oblivious, they can pull up alongside you. ‘Hi.’ Boom. She should’ve just said, ‘Stop! You’re not my dad!’ That would’ve negated the situation right off the bat,” said Kaonohi.
Getting a description of the suspect will also help police. Kaonohi says all you need to remember is the color of the person’s clothing, skin, and hair.
As for this case in Kalihi, the suspect is described as a man in his 30s with a heavy build and short hair.
Police are investigation and have opened a solicitation of a minor for prostitution case.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call police.