Federal safety inspectors investigating violence at Hawaii State Hospital
Federal safety inspectors investigating violence at Hawaii State Hospital

After an open records request by Hawaii Reporter, the state Department of Health has released its history of alleged sex assaults over the last five years at the Hawaii State Hospital for the criminally insane.

There have been 11 alleged sexual assaults at the Kaneohe facility since 2008, including 5 alleged patient-to-patient sex assaults, 5 alleged staff-to-patient sex assaults and one classified as an “unknown allegation.”

Just one of the alleged staff-to-patient assaults resulted in an attorney general and Honolulu police investigation while others were dismissed for being “unsubstantiated” by the Patient Protection Committee or because the alleged victim withdrew the complaint.

No information was provided as to the results of these complaints.

State senators are investigating workplace violence at the facility, where some 200 patients are housed who committed crimes, but are found either “mentally unfit” to stand trial or “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

Assaults on workers or patients by violent patients have increased to an average of one, every two to three days and in some cases have caused serious injuries.

Sixteen employees were so seriously injured in the last three years that they were put on leave and workers compensation for weeks, months or even years.

INVESTIGATION ONGOING: Senators Clayton Hee and Josh Green said they will get to the bottom of the violence against workers and patients at the state hospital.

Senate Health Committee Chair Josh Green and Senate Judiciary and Labor Chair Clayton Hee are heading the investigative committee, which met for the second time at the capitol on January 22.

Administrators, employees and former employees testified about working conditions, facilities and hospital management.

Hee announced the committee will have subpoena powers for future hearings.

The Department of Labor also continues its workplace violence investigation.

That investigation, launched just before Thanksgiving, began after four staff members publicly accused the hospital administration on Nov. 20 of perpetuating an unsafe environment for workers and patients.

The labor investigation could take months, and the hospital could face fines or be compelled to make changes.

State Hospital Administrator Bill Elliott said during a recent interview with Hawaii Reporter that the hospital will have 30 days to respond to the labor department report.

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