Friday | December 15, 2017
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State briefs for November 14

School band director accused of sex assault, fired

HONOLULU (AP) — A private school in Honolulu fired its band director amid allegations that he sexually assaulted a teenage girl.

Former Damien Memorial School band director Peter John Rucci was charged Saturday with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and four counts of third-degree sexual assault. He was arrested and then released after posting $150,000 bail.

The 61-year-old Rucci told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that his arrest “was a complete surprise.” He said he knows the alleged victim, but referred further comments to his attorney, who did not immediately return a message for comment.

Police said the alleged sexual assaults occurred in June, before Rucci was hired at Damien in August.

A school spokesman said the alleged assault did not involve any Damien students.

“Upon hearing the news, Damien has terminated Peter Rucci, effective immediately,” said Damien President and CEO Wes Reber Porter in a statement. “Based upon the dates of the allegations, the conduct occurred before his few months of employment with the school.”

Rucci said he began teaching at Honolulu Waldorf School in 2000 and was the school’s orchestra director until earlier this year when he left on good terms to be band director at Damien. He said he transferred to Damien because the school offered him better employment opportunities and more hours.

Rucci also was the band director at Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, Oahu, this year, working on the middle school and high school campuses, according to a school newsletter.

The administration for Honolulu Waldorf School and Le Jardin Academy could not immediately be reached for comment.

Kauai cliff-side hiking trail reopens after four years

HONOLULU (AP) — A cliff hiking trail on Kauai has reopened after being closed for four years.

The Nualolo Cliff Trail in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve reopened Saturday. Portions of the 2.1-mile trail were rerouted because of erosion. Vegetation was cleared and signs were installed on the new route.

The trail had been closed since 2013 because of hazardous conditions on a 300-foot-long cliff-side section. This stretch was damaged from wear and tear, and with a path only 6 inches wide in places, it was deemed unsafe.

Weather conditions and loose soil generated small slides, making it difficult to repair the trail quickly.


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