KAILUA-KONA — A civil lawsuit was filed in 3rd Circuit Court against a Waimea businessman last month alleging sexual abuse against a 12-year-old boy about 20 years ago.
The complaint against David McCollough, owner and operator of RT’s Service and Tow Guys, was brought before Judge Robert D.S. Kim on Sept. 10. The plaintiff’s attorney, Kris A. LaGuire said a process server delivered the complaint to McCollough a couple days ago. He now has 20 days to provide a written response to the court.
“The lawsuit is part of his healing,” LaGuire said of the plaintiff Wednesday. “This plays a huge role in him trying to cope with it.”
The plaintiff in the lawsuit has been identified by the fictitious name John Roe. LaGuire filed a motion on Sept. 10 on behalf of the plaintiff requesting proceedings use the pseudonym.
“In order to protect the privacy of Plaintiff, I request that he be permitted to serve the Complaint using the fictitious name of John Roe,” the motion states.
LaGuire added there is certainly an element of embarrassment and shame.
Judge Robert D.S. Kim granted the motion. He also ordered that the plaintiff disclose his true identity to the defendant when served with the filed complaint, adding the defendant will not disclose the identity of the plaintiff to anyone other than counsel or representatives of any insurer without a further order of the court.
McCollough provided a statement through his attorney Bruce Voss.
“The allegations in the complaint are wholly false, and it is disappointing that the plaintiff, having decided to pursue this case anonymously, is now seeking publicity through the media,” Voss stated on McCollough’s behalf Wednesday.
According to the lawsuit, the incidents occurred in Waimea sometime between 1997 and 1998. The plaintiff, a resident of Waimea at the time, was 12 years old and in sixth grade. Court documents indicate the plaintiff had visited the defendant’s home on several occasions, including overnight visits.
“On three separate occasions when Plaintiff was visiting at Defendant’s home in 1997 and 1998, Defendant, while in a position of authority, trust, and supervision over Plaintiff as a trusted family friend and adult who owed a duty of care to protect and prevent harm to Plaintiff, engaged in unpermitted, harmful and offensive sexual contact upon the person of Plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to court documents, the plaintiff developed various coping mechanisms and symptoms of psychological disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, repression and disassociation.
“Mr. Roe had repressed the incident and it didn’t really come back to start haunting him till about a year and half ago,” LaGuire said Wednesday.
Since the alleged abuse occurred 20 years ago, LaGuire relied Hawaii statute 657-1.8 that allowed his client to pursue a civil case. According to the statute, civil action in sexual abuse cases may be pursued provided a certificate of merit is filed with the court.
In this case, according to court documents, the certificate of merit was a notarized statement by a non-party psychologist who is “knowledgeable in the relevant facts and issues involved in the action and sets forth in reasonable detail that there is a reasonable basis to believe the plaintiff was subjected to one or more acts of abuse, which resulted in an injury or other condition as specified in the law.”
The plaintiff is seeking damages on three counts. The first is gross negligence. According to the complaint, it puts forth the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and breached this duty by sexually abusing him on three separate occasions.
The second count is grossly negligent infliction of emotional distress. As a direct result of the defendant’s actions, the complaint states, it inflicted severe emotional distress against the plaintiff who has suffered emotional, psychological and physical injury.
The third count is punitive damages.
“Plaintiff prays that judgment be entered in his favor, and against Defendant, for general, special, and punitive damages, together with costs of suit, attorney’s fees, pre- and post-judgment interest…” the suit states.