LIHUE — The alleged victim of multiple sexual assault incidents while she was a minor said the man believed to be responsible for the crimes threatened her if she told anyone.
“I had to promise that it would only stay between us, or else he’d kill me,” she said. “I was really afraid of him. He always had weapons.”
On Tuesday, the trial for Tarey Low, who is facing 28 counts of sexual assault, 26 of which are sexual assault in the first degree, started after a morning of jury selection. Twelve women and two men were picked.
In her opening statements, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn said the alleged victim met the defendant because she loved horses. She said Low had a ranch on Kealia Road, and she would go there to learn about horses.
The girl, who was 14 years old at the time, said she became more acquainted with Low after introducing him to a family member.
The abuse started about six months later when Low offered to give her a massage, Winn said.
The occurrences continued for another four years, until the girl, now 24, moved away.
“Here and there, he found moments because he could,” Winn said.
Low, who lives in Kapaa, is a former Kauai Police Department officer and state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officer. He is said to have allegedly sexually assaulted a female minor from June 29, 2007, through Feb. 14, 2014, according to a 13-page indictment.
He started as a DLNR DOCARE officer on April 2, 1990. Low, 56, became the Kauai district DLNR DOCARE manager in November 2001 and retired on June 1, 2009.
Winn said police were notified of what happened after the girl told an aunt, who alerted the YWCA hot-line and KPD.
But Thomas Otake, Low’s attorney, said there are two sides to the story.
“Our side will show that he is not guilty of sexually assaulting anyone,” he said. “These allegations offend logic, common sense or reason. There is no verification of it.”
Otake argued that because the girl wanted to get her siblings to go live with her father’s side of the family, she made up the story about Low to discredit him.
“But then her auntie told police, and the allegations snowballed,” he said.
He said the allegations make no sense because there were people in the room at the time the incidents occurred. He also said that after the fact, she continued to be around Low.
“When she confronts Tarey, he’s shocked,” he said.
During her testimony, the alleged victim described four incidents where she said Low sexually assaulted her, sometimes between tears.
“There was one night, I don’t know what I did to piss him off, but it went on for a long time. I screamed and kicked, and was able to run away to my room,” she said.
Her testimony will wrap up today. The trial is expected to run through next week with Judge Kathleen Watanabe presiding over the case.