BY JIM DOOLEY – A state judge today found the alleged “Peeping Tom” activities of retired Honolulu police officer Craig Clissold “alarming and disturbing” and refused to lift a three-year injunction issued against Clissold last month.
Clissold, 69, had initially agreed to the injunction, sought by a neighbor who accused the retired HPD lieutenant of peering into his windows and “lurking” on his property at night.
Clissold pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor invasion of privacy offense in 2001 after another neighbor accused him of repeatedly peeping into her windows at night.
The charge was later dismissed after Clissold completed a year of probationary supervision.
Clissold sought earlier this month to have the new injunction dissolved, saying it had endangered the license of a child chare facility he and his wife operate out of their Hawaii Kai home.
Clissold denied the allegations last month and in court today, saying he had only been in neighbor Robert Tinsley’s yard to “shoo” his cat back home.
He said in court papers that he first agreed to the injunction “because there was no reason for me to have any contact whatsoever” with Tinsley.
But the state Department of Human Services notified Clissold on October 3 that it was opening an investigation “as to whether both me and my wife posed a risk to the children in our care,” Clissold said in court papers.
The state ordered the Clissolds “to immediately cease and desist all child care activities for the duration of the investigation,” Clissold said.
The couple has held a child care license since 1982. The license, which expires at the end of this month, authorizes them to care for a maximum of six children in their home on a quiet residential street in East Honolulu.
Tinsley, who lives across the street from Clissold, said he moved into the rental home with his wife and two young sons in February.
At the end of July, another neighbor informed Tinsley that she had repeatedly seen Clissold leaving Tinsley’s property between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., always wearing a black t-shirt and black shorts.
The neighbor also informed Tinsley of Clissold’s earlier criminal case.
Around 11 p.m. on Sept. 3, Tinsley testified, he saw someone looking in his window while he was watching television, went outside and saw Clissold running out of his yard. Clissold was wearing a black t-shirt and black shorts, Tinlsey said.
“I got you, you effing pervert,” Tinlsey said he yelled at Clissold before calling police.
But police refused to arrest Clissold, saying there were “conflicting” accounts of what he was doing in the yard.
Tinlsey said he has since been cooperating with prosecutors and police on what he called “a pending investigation” of possible trespassing and invasion of privacy charges against Clissold.
Clissold took the witness stand after District Judge Hilary Gangnes warned him that his testimony could be used against him in a criminal case.
Clissold said that on the night of September 3, he saw his cat run across the street into Tinsley’s yard after nearly getting hit by a car.
“I went to shoo her back home,” Clissold said.
He said he only went “10 to 15 feet” inside Tinsley’s property line.
“I didn’t feel it would be a problem to go in and shoo her out of the yard,” Clissold said.
He said he never would have gone on the property if he had known how Tinsley felt about him.
Tinsley said his family has been “drastically affected by this.”
“We’ve been terrorized for three months. We feel like prisoners in our own home,” he said.
Gangnes upheld issuance of the injunction, which prohibits Clissold from having any contact with the Tinsleys.
Jason Oliver, a lawyer appearing for Clissold, argued that no “clear and convincing evidence” of misconduct by his client had been presented.
But Gangnes said she was convinced by Tinsley’s testimony, coupled with a written statement from the neighbor who reported seeing Clissold a half dozen times on Tinsley’s property.
“Mr. Clissold’s explanation does not seem to match up with what was observed,” the judge said.