Hawaii sexual assault victim sues ex-officer, state agency

HILO, Hawaii — A woman who was sexually assaulted two years ago by an on-duty land enforcement officer filed a lawsuit against the former officer and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The woman said the state never should have hired 41-year-old Ethan Ferguson, who previously had been fired by the Honolulu Police Department for misconduct, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday.

Ferguson ran afoul of police superiors for falsifying documents and lying to supervisors about transporting a runaway juvenile girl, according to an annual misconduct report to the state Legislature.

The police department said it told the state it shouldn’t hire Ferguson. The state agency said it knew Ferguson had been fired, but wasn’t given a reason for his dismissal and a background check on him turned up no criminal convictions.

The agency hired Ferguson in 2013.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Ferguson attacked the then-16-year-old girl. He was convicted of assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Her lawsuit accused the state agency of negligent hiring, among other claims.

Agency spokesman Dan Dennison said he can’t comment on pending litigation.

  1. harry oyama January 4, 2018 12:47 pm Reply

    The problem with any lawsuit against State or County agencies, is that us taxpayers will end up paying for any settlement and not those who were responsible for hiring criminals. Every single one of these incompetent officials should have their pension and bonus checks garnished to pay for the damages and then fire or jail them!

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