ANAHOLA — A youth pastor from the Christian Missionary Retreat in Anahola was arrested over the weekend for assaulting a construction worker. The pastor is out on bail, and denies that he ever threw a punch.
James Rodelo, 48, of Anahola, was arrested for second-degree assault, according to the Kaua‘i Police Department. He was released after posting $5,000 bail.
James Herron, 36, originally from Washington state and living on the island for the last eight years, was admitted to Wilcox Memorial Hospital after suffering injuries to his jaw, according to KPD.
Herron said he had been renting a studio from Rodelo for the last six months. On Thursday, his birthday, Herron said he left about a gram of marijuana in an unsecured place in his house. The next day he noticed the drug was gone.
“I was at fault for leaving it probably out somewhere in my house where the kids could find it,” he said.
Herron said Rodelo’s son admitted to him Saturday morning that he stole the pot.
Rodelo had a different story.
“He was selling drugs to my kids,” said Rodelo, adding that this was going on for about a month.
“All the kids confessed to it,” Rodelo said. “It was a known drug dealer right next door to our house.”
Rodelo said Herron had threatened to shoot him earlier in the day, saying he had a gun. That night, Rodelo went back to talk to Herron.
Herron said Rodelo and two juveniles — one of them Rodelo’s foster child — rushed into his home around 9 p.m., attacked him while he was getting off the couch and chased him down the street “until a sheriff’s car happened to be coming up the street.”
“None of that is true at all,” Rodelo said. “We did not go into his house. He came out of the house.”
Rodelo said Herron pushed him, and he pushed him back. Then he said Herron pulled out a knife and Rodelo pushed him onto some bushes, causing Herron to lose the knife. After that, he said Herron ran down the street, falling down several times.
He said he never punched Herron, that he must have gotten hurt when he ran down the street.
Herron said he has a card that allows him to grow medical marijuana.
“I have a little around for my appetite,” he said. “They give it to me because I’m on medication and it messes up my eating habits.”
Herron could not remember who his doctor was or where he got his card, only that it was somewhere on the South Shore.
“I can’t think of his name,” Herron said of his doctor. “It’s been awhile. I really don’t remember.”
Rodelo runs a youth camp in Anahola.
“I’m not just a knuckle-head,” Rodelo said. “I’m trying to help young men to make a decision and not to use drugs.”
Herron said Rodelo puts his children up on a pedestal, but some are out of control and the youth pastor doesn’t know it.
“They’re good kids,” Herron said. “We all smoked a little pot, drunk a little beer. I’m sure all of us did it, at least once or twice. In his eyes they have never done that.”
“I’m not totally innocent here, by no means,” Herron said. “I proclaim my own involvement. It was his actions afterwards that was totally uncalled for.”
Asked if by making those comments, he meant that he smoked marijuana with Rodelo’s children, Herron said he had “never actually even seen them smoke pot.”
“I was trying to help him out and he was selling drugs to my children,” Rodelo said.
Herron has a conviction for drunken driving in 2010, and spent five days in jail for that, plus paid a $30 criminal injury compensation fee.
Rodelo has a 2005 conviction for simple trespassing, and was ordered to pay a $50 fine.
On Monday, Herron said he was waiting to fly to O‘ahu for further surgery on his face.
Rodelo said he is scheduled for a court appearance on July 22.