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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, April 1, 2005

Manoa residents edgy after attacks

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Manoa residents say there is a growing concern in the valley about crime after two sexual assaults and kidnappings that occurred within six days of each other.

Neighborhood board member Gary Anderson lives near Manoa District Park, where one or both of the victims may have been taken. He said families with children and elderly residents who use the park have either called or e-mailed him about their safety concerns.

Anderson said the park is closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. but there is nothing stopping criminals from entering the area.

"We have posted closings of the park, but it is not enforced," he said. "No one chains it up."

Better lighting in the parking area could discourage criminal activity, but the bright lights might disturb nearby residents, he said. He would like to see chains set up to block vehicle access after hours.

"There is a big senior citizens' housing at the park and they are very concerned," he said.

Two young women were abducted during separate incidents in Manoa, taken to secluded areas and sexually assaulted, police said. One was also robbed.

Fighting back

A demonstration to protest the recent Manoa sexual assaults has been scheduled for noon Monday at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Campus Center.

The event is being sponsored by the university's Women's Studies Program and the Women's Center, The Hawai'i Radical Cheerleaders, Girl Fest Hawai'i, The Rebel Girl Underground and Sisters in Sound.

The group wants a public declaration from the university acknowledging the UH system as a Rape-Free Zone; immediate police notification if a rape is witnessed, a perpetrator is detained or rape is alleged on campus; a 30 percent increase in security on campus and in parking structures between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.; mandatory training for UH educators and coaches in anti-sexist methods of teaching and training of students and athletes; and 24-hour security escort service for UH immediate outlying areas.

However, police yesterday stressed that the attacks are not related.

"We want to reassure everybody that there isn't a series of sex assaults in the Manoa area," said Honolulu Police Department Capt. Frank Fujii. "It's just coincidental; they are not related. There really is no reason to be alarmed."

In the most recent attack, a Kapi'olani Community College student told police she was walking back to her dorm at about 9 p.m. Monday after eating dinner at Volcano Joe's in the Atherton YMCA building at the corner of University Avenue and Metcalf Street.

She was walking on Sea View Avenue, only about a block from the restaurant, when she was forced into a dark, four-door car by as many as five men, police said.

Police said after the attack, the men released the victim near a dorm at the University of Hawai'i. The suspects were described as being in their early 20s, all of whom wore hats, police said.

In a previous attack, police arrested Shannon K. Kalahiki, 24, in connection with the sexual assault and robbery of a woman in Manoa on March 23. He was arrested March 26 and was later charged with kidnapping, first-degree sexual assault and robbery.

The woman told police she was sitting in her car at the Manoa Innovation Center on Woodlawn Drive at about 5:15 p.m. when a man walked up to her, brandished a knife and got into her car. The man forced the 38-year-old woman to drive to a secluded area where he assaulted her, police said.

He then ordered her to drive to a bank and withdraw money. After he was given cash, the man fled on foot.

The University of Hawai'i yesterday urged students and others near the Manoa campus to stay alert and travel in groups after two incidents of alleged sexual assault in one week in normally tranquil Manoa Valley.

"The alleged attacks did not take place on our campus, but they were certainly close enough to make us concerned," said Jim Manke, a spokesman for the university.

The university has been reminding students and the public about the roughly 70 call boxes on campus, marked by bright blue lights, which connect directly to campus security.

Information about the reported gang rape and sketches of two alleged attackers have been posted around the Manoa campus.

Look familiar?

Police are asking for help in identifying five men who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman on Sea View Avenue on Monday.

Police this week released composite drawings of two of the five suspects.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 955-8300 or *CRIME on a cellular telephone.

"We do have 3,000 students that live on campus and there are people here always using the facilities so we like to make them aware of potential hazards," Manke said.

Manoa resident Tom Heinrich said after a series of armed home invasion incidents in the valley a few years ago, a community meeting was called by police to teach people how to protect themselves. It may be time for a similar meeting, he said.

"As far as we know (the assaults) are unrelated," Heinrich said. "But these incidents with similar characteristics ending up being sexually assaulted somewhere in the valley is a concern. We're not in panic mode, but no matter what, there are the personal safety issues here."

James Harwood, chairman of the Manoa Neighborhood Board, said the attacks are reminiscent of the Manoa serial rapist from the early 1980s.

John Freudenberg, a former honors student who became known as the Manoa rapist, admitted prowling Manoa streets and assaulting more than a dozen women from January 1981 to March 1982. Freudenberg was sentenced in 1984 to a life term with the possibility of parole.

"Our peaceful Manoa community is kind of alarmed and there will probably be a groundswell of concern," Harwood said. "I'm hoping the neighbors will keep an eye out for strange goings-on on their block. People, unfortunately, will have to be more aware of who is around them as they are going about their normal business."

Freudenberg is scheduled for a parole hearing in Halawa on May 11.

"There is a little worry in the community about what is going to happen when he is released," Harwood said.

Richard Fassler, coordinator of the lower Manoa neighborhood watch program, said the program was started when Freudenberg terrorized the neighborhood years ago. He said students are potential crime victims and should always be careful walking to their cars alone at night.

"Students are most affected by this crime," Fassler said. "The other victim will put a lot of residents on alert because it was very near the shopping center. These crimes did not occur in houses, they occurred on streets. I think everybody really needs to watch themselves more carefully, especially at night."

Staff writers David Waite and Peter Boylan and the Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach James Gonser at jgonser@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2431.