Jury Finds Former Maui Jail Guard James Siugpiyemal Guilty of Sexual Assault

Instead of focusing on the victim’s prior record, Gasmen asked jurors to focus on what Siugpiyemal did.

“He, as an officer, abused his authority,” she said. “He used his leverage, basically, to solicit sex.”

Siugpiyemal worked as an adult corrections officer at the Wailuku jail from 2013 to October 2014, when he resigned.

Defense attorney Ben Lowenthal, in his closing arguments, said that Siugpiyemal had been placed on unpaid leave for violating workplace policy after the inmate made the report.

“There was no crime,” Lowenthal said.

Although the inmate said she wasn’t allowed to use social media as part of a work furlough contract she signed, Lowenthal said that in the contract, “there is no such condition, she lied about that.”

Lowenthal said the woman “has been using drugs and when you are addicted to drugs, that leads to lying and cheating and stealing.”

He said there was no proof for the July 31, 2014, allegation of second-degree sexual assault. That was one charge that Siugpiyemal was acquitted of.

He also was acquitted of one second-degree sexual assault charge from Aug. 11, 2014.

Lowenthal called the woman’s video “a movie” that she turned over to her longtime lawyer, who has filed a lawsuit against the state on her behalf.

To find Siugpiyemal guilty, the jury was required to find that he was employed in a state correctional facility and that the victim had been sentenced to incarceration when the acts occurred.

Under the law, “an inmate is not capable of consenting to sexual relations with a guard,” Deputy Prosecutor Kristin Coccaro told jurors.

She said the law also says a guard cannot have sexual relations with an inmate.

“It does not matter whether he was on or off duty,” Coccaro said.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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