Hawaii Democrat Resigns In Response To Sexual Harassment Claims He Still Denies

The Huffington Post

March 22, 2018

By Carla Herreria

State Rep. Joe Souki had said he merely gave one of his accusers an “aloha kiss” on the cheek, but an ethics report says he admitted it was more than that.

A long-serving Hawaii lawmaker will resign from his post at the end of the month in response to sexual harassment complaints made against him by several women.

Hawaii’s State Ethics Commission said that state Rep. Joe Souki, an 84-year-old Democrat who previously served as the state’s House speaker, has admitted to touching and kissing “more than one woman in ways that were inappropriate and unwelcome.”

The commission added that Souki has acknowledged that his actions “exceeded the boundaries of the customary ‘aloha kiss,’” a customary greeting in the islands that involves a platonic kiss on the cheek.

Souki also admitted to making sexual comments, including comments on physical appearance, to more than one woman, according to the commission’s report on its investigation, released Wednesday.

Rachel Wong, a former state Department of Human Services director, filed a sexual harassment complaint against Souki in February, accusing him of an incident that occurred in 2015 in the presence of another male colleague, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported at the time.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.