Former Hawaii high school football stars settle civil lawsuit over sex assault case
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two former Hawaii football players making headlines as college starters have agreed to settle a civil lawsuit stemming from a criminal, sex assault case that was handled in juvenile court.
Jayden de Laura, the starting quarterback at the University of Arizona and Kamoi Latu, the starting safety at the University of Wisconsin, agreed to pay a woman who said she was raped by the players on October 27, 2018, after the St. Louis Crusaders beat Punahou in the ILH championship game.
The girl was 16 years old at the time. Both boys were underage too.
The victim is now 20 years old.
The court records name the woman, but Hawaii News Now has a practice of not revealing the identities of sex assault victims.
The first complaint was filed in December 2021. Amended complaints followed, with the most recent being filed Tuesday.
The lawsuits describe the victim as an acquaintance of de Laura and other players.
After the 2018 ILH championship game, she went to Aloha Stadium with her mom and a friend. They brought lei for some of the players. But the court filing says they were told that “supporters would have to drive to St. Louis School” to present the lei.
After the lei giving, the three went back to their car.
The complaint says the victim then received a text message from de Laura “demanding to know where she was and summoning her back to the second floor stairwell of the parking garage area” because he needed to talk to her.
The girl went to the stairwell while her mother and friend waited in the car.
The court records say Latu was in the stairwell waiting with de Laura, who “demanded” the she “engage in sex with the two of them simultaneously, immediately.”
She refused, according to the complaint.
The document then goes into graphic detail, saying the players “physically overpowered her” and that de Laura was “holding her head from behind and pushing it down” on Latu.
De Laura “began choking her to gain her cooperation” as he assaulted her, according to the court record which says the victim was “sobbing uncontrollably in fear and anger.”
The boys let her go and the document says, she later told her mother who contacted police.
There are text messages, the report describes messages, in which de Laura admits that the two players had sexually assaulted her and he “eventually apologized.”
The criminal case was handled in juvenile court. Juvenile records are sealed with only a few exceptions.
According to the civil complaint, the players were “charged and eventually pled guilty” to sex assault 2, but the document doesn’t provide a date and says “neither received any jail time pursuant to their guilty pleas.”
The players were instead “required to write letters of apology” to the girl.
The civil lawsuit was filed against both boys, their parents and St. Louis School, citing assault, false imprisonment and negligence.
De Laura and Latu’s families agreed to settle with the girl after private mediation that started late last year. The amount awarded is not being released as part of a privacy agreement.
It’s believed de Laura made hundreds of thousands of dollars through the Name, Image and Likeness policy. His attorney did not return calls for comment.
Latu’s attorney is Michael Green.
“In my view, this case was better not to be tried,” Green said.
“For closure for him, certainly closure for this young woman ... we just wanted my client to go on with his life, let her go on with her life.”
Green said the settlement is not an admission of guilt and he would not comment on the juvenile criminal case, which remains sealed.
On Thursday, University of Wisconsin Athletics released a statement, saying that Latu’s involvement in the case was not known to UW Athletics officials at the time of his initial enrollment.
“As described, the matter relates to Latu when he was a minor and the juvenile records are sealed,” the statement said.
The statement continued, saying that it became aware of the suit last fall but that Latu’s involvement did not violate the university’s athletics policies.
“Based on the information available to the UW-Madison Office of Legal Affairs and UW Athletics officials, the matter being reported that involved Latu prior to his time as a college student does not violate the UW Athletics Student-Athlete Discipline Policy, university misconduct policies, or reporting or disclosure requirements. Latu remains a member of the Wisconsin football team,” the statement said.
The University of Arizona Athletics department also released a statement on Friday about Jayden de Laura that said it became aware of the incident in the fall of 2022 but that “after reviewing the matter, the determination was made to allow de Laura to continue as a student-athlete and his status remains unchanged.”
St. Louis School continues to fight the lawsuit, which accuses the school of not providing adequate security on the night of the championship game.
The institution’s attorney did not return calls for comment but in a previous court filing denied the allegations and asked a judge to dismiss the case.
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