Asian America Daily - in under 5 minutes What's happening in Asian America? Get a daily email to stay informed, educated, and entertained.
A woman who runs a boarding house for exchange students in Honolulu has been charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old from Japan.
Rika Shimizu, 36, was charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault and four counts of fourth-degree sexual assault by the grand jury, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
In court documents, the victim alleges that Shimizu sexually assaulted him at least 10 times from October to February. The first assault occurred when he was bedridden for several weeks after a head injury, leaving him unable to go to the bathroom alone and change clothes.
Shimizu allegedly ignored the boy’s repeated attempts to stop and told the boy if he reported her, she would tell everyone that he raped her. She also threatened to expelled him from the school, implying that his family would lose the $20,000 they had paid for him to be in the exchange program.
The last assault occurred in February when Shimizu unlocked his room using her own key. The teen then called his mother to tell her what’s been happening. The mother immediately took him out of the boarding house and flew to Hawaii, according to Micky Yamatani, the victim’s attorney. The victim also reported the assaults to Honolulu police.
“He was an innocent resident of a so-called boarding house being run by this defendant who represented herself as the ‘boarding house mother’ who promised the victim a safe and healthy environment to study English and to experience the American schooling here in Hawaii,” Yamatani said told Star Advertiser in a statement.
“This is a case of sheer betrayal of the trust this victim and his family endowed on this woman. Instead of providing a healthy and nurturing environment, the defendant engaged in sexual assaults of this minor child. We truly want to emphasize here that this crime involved a minor child,” she added.
Yamatani also said they are “sadly aware that there are those out there who have made the statements to the effect that (the) victim somehow enjoyed these sexual advances from someone 20 years (his) senior.”
“To those who make such statements, we want to make it crystal clear that this victim is a young Japanese person who came to Hawaii to study English and to learn the American culture. He has been greatly betrayed by this woman, injured by this woman, been traumatized by this experience, and he looks forward to the day where our American justice system would set forth the truth and punish the person who harmed, hurt, and injured him,” she said.
During her first court appearance, Shimizu was quiet and kept her head down the whole time. Her current bail is set at $600,000 and she faces up to 10 years in prison.