Retired detective arrested for allegedly abusing councilwoman

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Ian Lee Loy, right, appears Tuesday in Hilo Family Court with his attorney, Donald Wilkson.

A retired Hawaii Police Department detective pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor domestic abuse charge for an alleged Memorial Day attack on his wife, a member of the County Council.

Ian Lee Loy, 56, of Hilo requested a jury trial for the abuse charge in which the alleged victim is Sue Lee Loy, a two-term councilwoman seeking a third term in office.

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According to the complaint filed by prosecutors, Ian Lee Loy “did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly physically abuse Susan Lee Loy, a family or household member” on Monday.

Police spokesman Alan Richmond said in an email that Ian Lee Loy allegedly “threw (an) object and caused bleeding on hip and left arm” of his 50-year-old wife. Richmond said the alleged domestic altercation took place in the couple’s Panaewa home.

According to the police booking log, Ian Lee Loy was arrested at 5:49 p.m. Monday and released from police custody less than an hour later after posting $1,000 bail.

Hilo Family Court Judge Jeffrey Hawk ordered Lee Loy to appear at 8 a.m. June 8 for “further proceedings” before Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota.

Deputy Prosecutor Heipua Ah Loy said in court Tuesday that Sue Lee Loy requested her husband not return home until Friday. Hawk granted that request, ordering Ian Lee Loy to stay away from the home until 9 a.m. Friday.

Don Wilkerson, Ian Lee Loy’s attorney, objected to the Tribune-Herald’s request to photograph and record audio in the courtroom, which is not unusual for a defense lawyer to do.

Wilkerson’s reason for the objection was unusual, however, telling Hawk the Tribune-Herald “fictionalize(d) what’s going on” in another criminal case in which the retired cop is the defendant.

“If they fictionalize what’s going on in this case, Mr. Lee Loy will be denied a fair trial,” Wilkerson argued.

Hawk granted the Tribune-Herald’s request.

The case Wilkerson referred to is a second-degree assault charge Ian Lee Loy is facing for allegedly attacking Neal Tanaka, the acting deputy chief of the county’s Department of Public Works Building Division, on July 25, 2019.

A court document supporting the assault charge said police responded at about 2:32 p.m. July 25 to the report of an assault of a county employee at the Hilo Lagoon Center.

The document states Tanaka went to the Hilo Lagoon Center for a meeting and encountered Lee Loy, who was still a member of the department, in the walkway. Lee Loy, according to Tanaka, struck him on the right side of the face with an open left hand, causing pain to his right ear.

According to the document, Christopher Palacios, a certified physician assistant at Aloha Kona Urgent Care, documented “a perforation of Tanaka’s right tympanic membrane, resulting in rupture of about 1/4 (to) 1/3 of the ear drum.” Palacios further noted that “long term hearing impairment” could result from the injury.

The document states that at about 1:37 p.m. on July 25, police Capt. Reed Mahuna noticed a missed call on his cellphone from Sue Lee Loy. He then received two text messages from her, the first stating “please call me back,” and the second saying, “Ian punched someone I work with.”

Mahuna then called Sue Lee Loy who, according to the document, “told him her husband saw text messages that appear to show a relationship with this co-worker, but it is not true.”

Ian Lee Loy retired July 31, less than a week after the incident, but both the former detective and the councilwoman said his retirement was being contemplated as early as last spring.

Ian Lee Loy pleaded not guilty on Feb. 12 to the assault charge, a Class C felony carrying a potential five-year prison term upon conviction. Trial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 3 before Kubota, and Lee Loy is free on $1,000 bail in that case.

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth recused his office from prosecuting the assault charge against Ian Lee Loy because of a conflict of interest and told the Tribune-Herald on Tuesday he will do the same with the domestic abuse case.

“The victim in this case is a county official. In these kinds of cases, that’s not uncommon,” Roth said about recusal.

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The Kauai County prosecutor’s office is prosecuting Ian Lee Loy’s assault case, and either the state attorney general or another county prosecutor’s office will handle the abuse case, once Roth’s office officially withdraws.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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