Former Big Island councilman, a sex offender, gets county job
HILO, Hawai'i — A former Big Island councilman who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a child in 2000 has been hired by the Hawai'i County Planning Department.
Keola Childs, who served two terms as a Republican on the Hawai'i County Council from 1992 to 1996, spent time in jail after his conviction for knowingly subjecting a person under age 14 to "sexual penetration."
Childs, 60, is still serving his sentence for the crime.
He was sentenced to serve one year in jail, with 30 days of that sentence served each year. This year, he was ordered to serve one month in jail from Sept. 29 to Oct. 29, according to court documents. He also will be kept on probation through 2020.
Childs is a registered sex offender who is listed on the Hawai'i Criminal Justice Data Center Web site.
He is scheduled to start work Nov. 1 as a planner in the West Hawai'i office.
Planning Director Chris Yuen said Childs has received treatment and is prepared to contribute to society.
"(Childs) has completed a therapeutic program, and he is currently on probation," Yuen said. "I think he's going to be an outstanding employee."
Although there are some exceptions, state law generally prohibits employers from discriminating against someone because of a criminal record, Yuen said.
Yuen said Childs has a lot of experience in county government that he can apply to his job.
"He admitted he did wrong," Yuen said. "You don't punish somebody forever for a mistake. We have to let them use the talents they have and not shun them. He's very qualified ... I'm very happy to hire him."
Childs could not be reached for comment.