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Ex-MPD officer gets jail term for exposing himself

Judge: How can you not remember this day?

John Salomon

WAILUKU — A former Maui police officer who said he felt “disgusted and ashamed” was sentenced Friday to a 60-day jail term for sexually exposing himself to women and a youth in Pukalani parking lots.

John Salomon, 41, also was placed on one year’s probation and ordered to participate in sex offender treatment.

“He swore an oath to protect the community and then he took actions to harm eight members of this community,” said Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Martin. “And that should not be overlooked.”

Salomon had pleaded no contest to nine counts of fourth-degree sexual assault.

The acts occurred May 30, 2015, when police received numerous calls about a man exposing his genitals and masturbating in a vehicle at parking lots including the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center, Pukalani Terrace Center, Pukalani Park and Kulamalu Town Center and park.

Salomon covered the license plate of his vehicle before leaving his house and took his police radio, which was on the passenger seat, Martin said. He said that victims could hear the police radio.

“I feel disgusted and ashamed with myself about why I put all of you through this,” Salomon said in court Friday. “I am remorseful for exposing myself and wish I could take it back. However, I cannot. I can only learn from my mistakes.”

Salomon said he wanted to apologize to the victims, community and family members.

“I know I frightened you and scared you mentally,” he said. “No one should be subjected to what you saw that day. I, too, have a family and would have reacted the same way. I cannot say enough about how sorry I am.

“Regardless of whatever mental issues I have, there were other ways of dealing with my stress instead of turning to alcohol. I failed to seek out the proper help and put all of you through a nightmare.”

At the time, Salomon had been a Maui Police Department officer for about three years. Police said he was fired in 2015.

“I know I have committed a criminal offense as well as betrayed my community, not just as a police officer but as a citizen of Maui,” Salomon said.

His attorney, David Sereno, said Salomon was already participating in sex offender treatment, as well as alcohol treatment, and was taking medication for bipolar disorder.

“It has made him very self-aware,” Sereno said. “I believe when this happened, even before this happened, he wasn’t very self-aware. He wasn’t aware of the problems he had. Now he recognizes that he can’t deal with some of these issues on his own.”

Sereno asked that Salomon be spared a jail term or be placed on house arrest as part of his probation so he could continue in treatment and report for a job he was scheduled to start Monday.

“He knows how horrible the act was and he understands deeply how it affected other people,” Sereno said.

Martin argued for a 90-day jail term as part of probation.

A man whose wife and underage son were among the victims said that, afterward, his wife received harassing phone calls, which stopped when detectives got involved. He said their 7-year-old Rottweiller was poisoned, and his wife was afraid their smaller dog also would be hurt.

After running into Salomon at a Pukalani grocery store, “she won’t even go shop there alone anymore,” the man said in court Friday.

He said his son continues to suffer anxiety and fear. “This is a long-term thing for us,” the man said. “It’s been very hard, very traumatic on our family.”

He said the family was living about a block away from Salomon in Pukalani.

Sereno said Salomon now lives in Kahului after selling the house and moving about a month after the incident.

Martin questioned how long Salomon has had the awareness cited by the defense.

In a presentence investigation interview in October, Salomon was asked when were the first and last times he ever exposed himself. “He replies that he’s never done it,” Martin said.

“I’m not arguing he hasn’t had a tough life,” Martin said. “But those with mental health diagnoses, those with alcoholism certainly don’t do the things he did. . . . They certainly don’t stop women and children and masturbate in front of them over the course of a five-hour time period.”

Sereno said Salomon’s awareness of that day has developed through treatment. “Has the entire day come back to him? No. Has a chunk of the day come back to him? Yes. This is awareness that occurs with time.”

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said he didn’t believe that Salomon couldn’t remember what he did.

“It’s too embarrassing for him to admit that he did this, that he planned this,” Bissen said. “He wasn’t the one being traumatized, it’s the victims.”

“How can you not remember this day?” Bissen said. “The defendant was never diagnosed with amnesia. It’s depression. He didn’t suffer a concussion. He was drunk.”

Bissen said Salomon was “totally functioning.”

“He functioned well enough to call the police officer who was on patrol in the neighborhood that day to come to his home and offer him a plate of chili,” Bissen said. “The officer said that had never happened before. It established an alibi for the defendant that he was at home cooking chili that day.”

The officer was at Salomon’s home after the first set of offenses had been reported. But the officer didn’t suspect Salomon, a fellow police officer, based on the description of the suspect as a Caucasian man in his 30s or 40s.

“The police were at his home while all these calls were being made,” Bissen said.

“That’s pretty aware of what’s happening.”

After the officer left, Salomon “went out with his wife’s car and did the same thing,” Bissen said.

“The defendant did everything he could that day to avoid being detected, from wearing his sunglasses to covering his license plate to having the police radio,” the judge said. “Every time a male figure got close, he drove off. He only exposed himself to women or girls or minors. This isn’t random. This was selective.

“And the way he did it . . . was, in the court’s mind, to maximize shock value. He did everything he could to expose himself to as many as he could without being caught.”

Bissen said he did agree with letters from co-workers and others saying “the defendant is a good man.”

“This shocks everyone who knows him,” Bissen said.

Bissen denied Salomon’s request for a chance to keep the convictions off his record.

Salomon was given credit for one day of jail and was taken into custody Friday to serve the rest of the jail term.

He was ordered not to consume alcohol or illegal drugs and to have no contact with the victims in the case.

Sereno said that a pending case for Solomon’s arrest in June 2015 on a drunken-driving charge is expected to be resolved next week.

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