Former students file sex abuse lawsuit against school psychiatrist
March 12, 2014
Robert Browne was a well-known Honolulu psychiatrist who took part in the civil rights marches of the 1960s.
But a new lawsuit alleges that Browne was a sexual predator who preyed on Kamehameha Schools students during the 1970s.
"He masturbated them. His hands were on them all the time," said attorney Michael Green.
"I think there's probably hundreds."
Green represents eight former students, all men who are now in their 50s. Each tells the same story: that Browne fondled them after they were sent to him for counseling.
"It started with the magazines under the couch ... and there was rubbing and the touching. And eventually, the masturbating, which happened all of the time," Green said.
Kamehameha Schools called the allegations serious but declined comment, saying it has not seen the complaint.
That suit alleges that Browne served as a dorm sponsor at the Kapalama Heights campus. He also was chief of psychiatry at the Saint Francis Medical Center.
Like the Catholic priest abuse scandal, the alleged molestations remained out of the limelight for decades. Then in 1991, one of the victims spoke out about his experience during a church service on the Big Island.
A sister of another victim happened to be in the audience that day and she got her brother in touch with the man. After speaking to each other, one of Green's clients decided to contact Browne.
"(He) confronted him with not only what you did to me but what did you do to so and so. Dr. Browne that day killed himself," Green said.
Green said the timing of the suit was partly due to the statue of limitations, which runs out next month. But many of the victims say they just want to see justice done, even if it's delayed by decades.
Source: Suit: Rick Daysog, "Psychiatrist sexually abused Kamehameha students," Hawaii News Now, March 11, 2014.
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