School band di­rec­tor ac­cused of sex as­sault, fired

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

HONOLULU (AP) — A pri­vate school in Honolulu fired its band di­rec­tor amid al­le­ga­tions that he sex­u­ally as­saulted a teenage girl.

For­mer Damien Me­mo­rial School band di­rec­tor Peter John Rucci was charged Satur­day with three counts of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault and four counts of third-de­gree sex­ual as­sault. He was ar­rested and then re­leased af­ter post­ing $150,000 bail.

The 61-year-old Rucci told the Honolulu Star-Ad­ver­tiser that his ar­rest “was a com­plete sur­prise.” He said he knows the al­leged vic­tim, but re­ferred fur­ther com­ments to his at­tor­ney, who did not im­me­di­ately re­turn a mes­sage for com­ment.

Po­lice said the al­leged sex­ual as­saults oc­curred in June, be­fore Rucci was hired at Damien in Au­gust.

A school spokesman said the al­leged as­sault did not in­volve any Damien stu­dents.

“Upon hear­ing the news, Damien has ter­mi­nated Peter Rucci, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately,” said Damien Pres­i­dent and CEO Wes Re­ber Porter in a state­ment. “Based upon the dates of the al­le­ga­tions, the con­duct oc­curred be­fore his few months of em­ploy­ment with the school.”

Rucci said he be­gan teach­ing at Honolulu Wal­dorf School in 2000 and was the school’s orches­tra di­rec­tor un­til ear­lier this year when he left on good terms to be band di­rec­tor at Damien. He said he trans­ferred to Damien be­cause the school of­fered him bet­ter em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and more hours.

Rucci also was the band di­rec­tor at Le Jardin Academy in Kailua, Oahu, this year, work­ing on the mid­dle school and high school cam­puses, ac­cord­ing to a school news­let­ter.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion for Honolulu Wal­dorf School and Le Jardin Academy could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

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