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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2002

Neighbor Island briefs

Ex-teacher jailed for sex assault

WAILUKU — A former schoolteacher was sentenced to a year in jail and given 20 years' probation yesterday for repeatedly sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl.

Robert J. Plouffe, 42, a former teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School, also was ordered by Maui Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto to pay up to $5,000 in therapy costs for the victim and to register as a sex offender.

Plouffe pleaded guilty to a charge of continuous sexual assault of a minor under age 14.

Maui County Prosecutor Richard Bissen said Plouffe fondled the girl, who was a relative, on at least three occasions from January through April 2001 at a Pukalani residence.

Police search for Kona woman

Police are looking for a missing 54-year-old Big Island woman believed to have been in Honolulu.

Penelope Carolynne Medeiros of Captain Cook was last seen by family members April 8 in South Kona. However, police said she may have been seen April 14 in Honolulu.

Medeiros is the self-employed owner of Aloha Flowers of Essence. She is a British subject and speaks with a British accent.

She is described as 5 feet 10, 140 pounds, with light brown hair and green eyes.

Anyone with information can call Officer Joe Self in Honolulu at 529-3064; Detective Nancy Haitsuka of the Kona Criminal Investigation Section, (808) 326-4227; or the Hilo police nonemergency number, (808) 935-3311.

Tips can help solve theft of solar items

Big Island police are asking for tips leading to the arrest of burglars whose $22,000 haul from a Ka'u home included a solar heating system, complete with rooftop panels.

The burglary occurred at a home in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision between March 16 and April 1, police said.

Police said stolen items included a 24-volt Air-303 wind turbine, a Grundfos brand water pump, a Wellmate brand 60-gallon pressure tank, a Paloma propane water heater and various components of a home entertainment system.

Anyone with information can call police at (808) 939-2520 or (808) 935-3311. Anonymous tips are taken at CrimeStoppers, (808) 961-8300 in Hilo or (808) 329-8181 in Kona.

Two doctors fined in tax-evasion case

HILO, Hawai'i — Two Kona doctors have agreed to pay a $50,000 fine for failing to file four years' worth of excise tax returns.

Dr. Loi Chang-Stroman pleaded guilty yesterday on behalf of the medical corporation he owns with his wife, Dr. Joy A. McElroy. They also agreed to pay back taxes, penalties and interest expected to total another $50,000, according to Deputy Attorney General Ricky Roy Dammerville.

Individual criminal charges against the couple were dismissed in exchange for the fine against the firm, Dammerville said.

"That should be a message: We are not fooling around," he said.

The business had gross income of between $832,000 and $1.27 million during the period the taxes went unpaid from 1997 through 2000.

The doctors have declined any comment on the case since their indictment Feb. 27 for willful failure to file tax returns.

Puna Democrat to run for House

HILO, Hawai'i — Puna Democrat Bill Eger has announced that he will seek the state House seat in the 4th District.

Eger, 66, will challenge incumbent Rep. Helene Hale and former Councilman Al Smith in the Democratic primary. Eger campaigned for Smith in the past.

The district includes Puna and Ka'u.