Freitas sued, again

A former Kauai Police Department lieutenant is suing KPD Police Chief George Freitas over an alleged violation of the Hawaii Whistleblowers Protection Act.

Alvin Seto resigned his position on May 17, 2002. At the time, he was the Youth Services Section Lieutenant in the Investigative Services Bureau. He had been with the KPD since 1980.

Now he is also asking in his suit for his KPD job back.

“It is a concern, again, if the five lawsuits become unfounded it would be unfair for me to make judgments,” Mayor Bryan Baptiste said Thursday, when asked for a comment on the suit and others filed against Freitas and the KPD. He said he had not heard of the case until Wednesday and has yet to review the complaint and allegations.

The complaint alleges that Freitas committed misconduct, including hindering prosecution of an ongoing police investigation and KPD Standards of Conduct violations.

The law provides that an employer shall not discharge, threaten, or discriminate against an employee regarding the employee’s terms of employment because the employee reports to the employer or public body a violation of law or contract, unless the employee knows that the report is false; or is requested by a public body to participate in an investigation, hearing, or inquiry held by that public body, or a court action.

“After a long and difficult struggle I was finally given a copy of the investigation against me,” Freitas said yesterday in response to the suit. “I have never read that investigation because I don’t want my actions to be influenced by what people have said or haven’t said about me; I don’t want to avail myself to that information.”

In the complaint, Seto alleges that Freitas subjected him to a hostile work environment and caused him “severe emotional distress, pain, suffering, embarrassment and loss of enjoyment of life.”

“The gentleman retired from here,” Freitas said regarding Seto’s expressed desire to return to the department.

Seto alleges that reasons forcing him to resign included: an internal investigation he led involving the alleged sexual abuse of a police officer’s step-daughter, and a woman’s complaint of sexual harassment against the same officer.

He claims that Freitas advised the officer that charges against him were unsubstantiated and refused to allow detectives to conduct more interviews with a complaining witness. Further, Seto claims Freitas suspended a criminal investigation while allowing an internal one.

Allegedly, Freitas encouraged two Kauai County employees to file civil claims against him; interrogated him about violating the KPD standards of conduct using a tape recorder; encouraged Seto’s subordinates to report possible conduct violations; denied Seto training opportunities; and bypassed Seto on a promotion eligibility list.

The complaint, summons and demand for trial were filed Tuesday in federal court in Honolulu by attorney Clayton C. Ikei.

“He made a series of complaints two years ago, and I guess he’s not satisfied with the results,” Freitas said.

Seto filed a complaint with the Kauai Police Commission in July 2001 that charged Freitas with multiple acts of misconduct, including hindering prosecution, mistreatment of subordinate officers and transporting his civilian girlfriend in a police vehicle. Among the complaints, one included parking the wrong way

Freitas was suspended with pay from Aug. 2001nJan. 2002 so the police commission could review the allegations. Freitas returned to work in January 2002. The commission issued two written reprimands that were placed in his personnel filenone for abusive conduct toward a subordinate police officer, and the second for transporting his girlfriend in the police vehicle.

“I’d rather not go through this process one more time. It’s unfortunate that he feels its necessary to go through this process again with the same complaints,” Freitas added.

“I have no idea what anybody thinks. That’s their problem, I only have to worry about my ethical concerns,” Freitas said.

“I am sure with one piece of mud after another there are some people who don’t know me who are wondering. I am confident that those people who know me trust my character,” Freitas said.

Ikei also represents Jacqueline Tokashiki, Freitas’ former secretary who filed suit this February for wrongful termination. Tokashiki still works in the department but as secretary in another division.

Sgt. Mark N. Begley, who alleges corruption and an underground police-run criminal organization filed suit against Freitas this year. Begley continues to work in the KPD’s Administrative and Technical Bureau.

The county attorney’s office was served today and is reviewing the complaint. It has not been determined whether a special counsel will be employed.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at or 245-3681 (ext. 252).


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