Ex-coach's admission of touching boys denied
By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Peter Boylan
The lawyer for a former youth soccer coach facing sexual assault charges said frustration during a police interview led his client to tell investigators he touched two boys inappropriately.
William Harrison, attorney for Frederick N. Rames, said yesterday his client became exasperated during a police interrogation and gave investigators a "flippant" response that was then presented by detectives as an admission of guilt in a police affidavit. Rames is accused of sexually assaulting six boys, some of them players on teams he coached, others foster children in his care.
"He got frustrated. He was being asked the same thing over and over again. Officers were telling him, 'If you don't make a statement it will look like you did it.' Finally he said, 'If you want me to admit to all these things I will,' " said Harrison, speaking outside a courtroom after appearing with Rames yesterday. He said Rames denies all statements made to police.
A court document released Friday stated that Rames gave a voluntary statement to police in which he "admitted to touching" two boys "with his hand and stated he was 'teaching' them how to masturbate."
The city prosecutor's office declined comment. Honolulu police also declined to comment on Harrison's statements, citing an ongoing criminal investigation.
Harrison, during an appearance before a Honolulu district court judge yesterday, asked that bail for his client be reduced from $1 million. The request was denied.
Also, a preliminary hearing for Rames, 60, was set for 1:30 p.m. tomorrow. He is being held in a secure module at the O'ahu Community Correctional Center. Harrison said his client maintains his innocence and denies all charges against him.
Harrison reiterated that all six of the boys Rames allegedly molested are Marshallese and non-native English speakers and that their version of events was delivered through their parents, who acted as interpreters.
Police said Rames waived his constitutional right to remain silent and to have an attorney present, and made a statement voluntarily to police after he was arrested Sept. 21 on suspicion of sexually assaulting two boys, ages 7 and 12.
The younger boy played on a soccer team coached by Rames and the older boy was a foster child in Rames' care. Rames was charged Sept. 23 with six counts of third-degree sexual assault in connection with the allegations and released on $150,000 bail.
Rames was arrested again Thursday in connection with additional allegations that he sexually assaulted four other boys.
The new charges involve boys ages 7 to 12 who were allegedly sexually assaulted beginning on July 24, 2002, police said. Two of the boys were in Rames' foster care and two played on a soccer team coached by Rames, police said.
In that case, Rames was charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault, 14 counts of third-degree sexual assault, and four counts of witness tampering.
The witness-tampering counts result from reports by four of the boys that they had been contacted by Rames after his Sept. 21 arrest. He allegedly told them by phone "to lie to the police and to tell the police that he (Rames) never touched them," according to a court document.
A conviction for third-degree sex assault carries a maximum five-year prison sentence; first-degree sexual assault carries a maximum 20-year term.
Reach Peter Boylan at email@example.com.