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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fox gets probation for groping

Advertiser Staff and News Services


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LOS ANGELES Galen Fox, a former Hawai'i lawmaker, was sentenced to three years of probation yesterday and ordered to register as a sex offender for groping a woman as she slept on an airline flight.

Fox, who represented Waikiki and nearby neighborhoods and was state House minority leader, was sentenced in federal court.

The sentence from U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Nagle includes three months of home detention. Fox must register as a sex offender during the probation period, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.

Fox also was ordered to undergo "either psychiatric evaluation or sex offender treatment," Mrozek said.

In October, Fox was convicted in a nonjury trial of abusive sexual conduct, a misdemeanor offense that carried a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

"It's a sad case," said Fox's attorney, Harland Braun, from his office in Los Angeles. "It was an impulsive act. It was misunderstood. It has put an end to a brilliant career."

Calls to Fox were not immediately returned.

After a nine-year career in state government, the Republican lawmaker resigned last month.

There had been no local report of the charges prior to Fox's announcement 11 days after his conviction that he would resign. He consulted with Gov. Linda Lingle before resigning. According to Lingle's spokesman, Russell Pang, she told him it would be "appropriate if you resign" but that it was his decision to make.

The 27-year-old victim in the case said she fell asleep aboard a United Airlines flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles on Dec. 18, 2004, and awoke to Fox fondling her crotch under her blanket.

According to a court filing, Fox acknowledged reaching over to touch the woman and that he should not have been touching her. But he denied details of the woman's account of what took place.

Staff writer Loren Moreno contributed to this report.