HPA sexual abuse suit settled

HILO — Hawaii Preparatory Academy has reached a settlement over a lawsuit alleging a former teacher sexually abused two female students in the 1970s and ’80s.

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HILO — Hawaii Preparatory Academy has reached a settlement over a lawsuit alleging a former teacher sexually abused two female students in the 1970s and ’80s.

Mark Gallagher, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, who remained anonymous, said both the school and accused teacher, Loren Barker, paid a cash settlement to the former students, but he couldn’t comment on the amount or if the parties admitted fault.

The settlement was reached Nov. 4, allowing the case in 3rd Circuit Court to be dismissed, he said.

“This case has been resolved to all parties’ satisfaction,” said Head of School Robert McKendry in a statement. “Sexual misconduct is not tolerated at Hawaii Preparatory Academy and our school is committed to the safety of our students and our community.”

Attempts to reach Barker’s attorney were unsuccessful.

Gallagher previously said his last known address was in Montana.

The lawsuit was filed as a result of a two-year window waiving the statute of limitations for civil cases involving child sex abuse in the state.

A separate case filed during that window alleges a former Hakalau resident, Jay Ram, abused boys he fostered and adopted. Five men who were in his care in their youth are listed as plaintiffs.

Gallagher, who also is the plaintiffs’ attorney, said that case is going through mediation for a possible settlement.

It was recently remanded from U.S. District Court to Honolulu Circuit Court.

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He said Ram resides in Florida.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.