Court-appointed expert outlines years of abuse in Peter Boy case, missteps by Child Protective Services

Documents reveal “Peter Boy” Kema endured horrific abuse in his six short years of life.

A court-appointed expert who investigated his disappearance and death said if Child Protective Services had followed the law, Peter Boy would be alive today.

The expert said Peter Boy’s abuse started when he just a newborn. He and his siblings were removed several times from their parents’ home, only to be returned to a household that led to abuse, starvation, torture and, in Peter Boy’s case, death.

In the report, filed in the interest of Peter Kema Jr., Special Master Stephen Lane details the boy’s tortured life from his birth on May 1, 1991.

While Peter Boy was still in the hospital, the Department of Human Services opened a child abuse case involving two other children in the Kema household. CPS determined the injuries were most likely the result of beatings by Peter Kema Sr.

On Aug. 11, 1991, a then 3-month-old Peter Boy was brought back to Hilo Medical Center by his mother over the objections of his father. X-rays taken then and a month later at Kapiolani Medical Center on Oahu revealed numerous old and new bone fractures which pointed to child abuse.

Over the next three years, the children thrived in foster care, according to reports. Peter Kema Sr. and his wife, Jaylin Kema, paid “rare” visits. The departing social worker on the case warned his supervisor that the children would be at extreme risk if returned to their parents.

Peter Boy’s former foster mother agreed, pleading in a July 1994 letter that Peter Boy not be returned to his parents. She argued that neither parent accepted any responsibility for the injuries, neither was working and capable of caring for their children, and returning him to the parents would further traumatize him.

But just three days later, Hilo’s Department of Human Services did exactly that and returned Peter Boy to the care of his parents.

Over the next three years, there were countless reports of missed appointments, canceled visitations, and additional abuse, which ultimately resulted in Peter Boy’s death in June 1997.

In conclusion, the report says Peter Boy should have never been returned to his parents after his birth, and that “It is probable that had CPS complied with their own standards and protocols and acted on this complaint as the law required, Peter Boy would be alive today.”

The Department of Human Services had no comment on the report.

The court expert recommended Peter Boy’s siblings retain Randall Rosenberg, an attorney who has extensive experience in cases involving child abuse. Rosenberg tells us he is investigating the matter, though no legal actions have been taken.

Click here to view the report in its entirety.

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