HONOLULU (AP) — A former teacher and coach was convicted of five counts of invasion of privacy for secretly filming male students in the shower.
Honolulu Circuit Judge Rom Trader found Gabriel Alisna guilty Friday at the conclusion of a nonjury trial.
Alisna did not testify. His attorney, Keith Shigetomi, said he might appeal the verdict.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re not discouraged,” Shigetomi said. “The case is not over. There are other things to be done so we have to take the next step.”
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Costales said the verdict hopefully will send a message to other victims that justice can be served if they are patient and have “the courage to come forward, to do what they can to hold people accountable and to not be quiet — say something.”
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 9. Each charge carries a possible five-year prison term.
Trader also set the week of Feb. 4 for Alisna to stand trial for two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault for allegedly inappropriately touching a teen.
Alisna, a former Kamehameha Schools speech teacher and debate team coach, recorded videos of students with a camera hidden in a clothes hook, according to evidence presented during the trial.
In at least one of the videos, shot in 2013, a student was secretly recorded showering in the teacher’s faculty apartment. That student testified in court Wednesday but declined to comment after the verdict was announced.
Shigetomi argued in court there wasn’t enough evidence that Alisna installed the video camera and did the videotaping.
Honolulu police opened an investigation into Alisna after Kamehameha Schools officials turned over Alisna’s camera to authorities. Before police became involved, Kamehameha Schools conducted its own investigation, which included a search of Alisna’s apartment and witness interviews.
Police said they retrieved 14 videos from the camera’s memory card. An additional nine videos that had been deleted also were recovered.
Kamehameha Schools agreed in July to pay $5 million to the families of four students who sued over its handling of the situation. The families’ lawyer, Michael Green, said administrators had the shower videos in their possession, not knowing who was in them, yet still encouraged students to contact and meet with Alisna.
The case took five years to reach trial because Kamehameha School officials refused to turn over information from its investigation and wanted to have security officers who conducted the apartment search testify behind closed doors. Trader denied the requests, Kamehameha appealed, and the Hawaii Supreme Court upheld the judge’s ruling.
Commenting on the verdict, Kamehameha Schools spokeswoman Crystal Kua said: “We believe the court reached the right decision. Our hearts and prayers are with the students and their ohana.”
Alisna was fired from Kamehameha Schools.