by Andrew Walden (originally published April 27, 2009)
(UPDATE November 8, 2013: Convicted homosexual child molester and early gay rights activist Leon Rouse has once again been hired at the legislature. According to the Office Managers List for the Hawaii State Legislature, updated October, 2013 for the special session, Rouse is now managing the office of Rep Karen Awana, D-Nanakuli. Rouse's presence at the office is confirmed by office personnel and by constituents who have visited the office to lobby Awana on the pending gay marriage bill. Rouse is believed to be the only convicted child molester knowingly employed in any legislative office anywhere in the United States.)
(Note April, 2010: The convicted child molester is back at work managing Rep. Rida Cabanilla's [D-Ewa] legislative office again in 2010. Source: http://hawaii.gov/lrb/par/fyi/ofcmgr10.pdf )
2009 Article -- With the recent media attention to Maui Democrat Rep Joe Bertram’s April 1 court room antics in support his “friend” 52-year-old child predator Mark Marcantonio, Hawaii’s other legislature-connected molesters might be expected to keep a low profile. Not Leon Rouse. Sources in the Legislature confirm that Rouse, a convicted child molester, was rehired earlier this year to work as office manager for Democrat Legislator Rida Cabanilla and has worked for her all session. Rouse may be the only Legislative employee anywhere in the US to have a criminal record as a child molester.
UPDATE: Bertram tied to second molester: House Speaker Calvin Say defends
This isn’t the first time Hawaii Democrats have gone out of their way to help Rouse. After being released from prison in late 2003, Rouse was immediately deported and banished for life from the Philippines. But returning to Hawaii after nearly eight years out of circulation, Rouse was quickly able to receive employment references from several legislators which he used to land a job at Norwegian Cruise Lines starting May 2, 2004. He didn’t last long. On June 11, 2004 was fired and thrown off the ship in California after being accused of sexually harassing his male coworkers.
When news of Rouse’s firing reached his friends in the Hawaii Legislature, they immediately sprung into action. According to a January 19, 2006 article in Hawaii Reporter:
(Former Senator Brian) Kanno asked his colleagues, both House and Senate elected officials, to sign a letter demanding that the company rehire Rouse or pay him restitution and travel expenses. In addition to Kanno’s signature, the letter dated Aug. 24, 2004, to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), was signed by Democrat Senators Roz Baker, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Brian Taniguchi and Carol Fukunaga – all chairs of their respective committees. In addition, House Chairs Roy Takumi, Kenneth Hiraki and Eric Hamakawa [all Democrats] signed the letter.
Kanno also introduced a resolution (SR65) requiring the cruise line to detail its sexual harassment policy, and demanded that the state Department of Taxation consider mandating the cruise line pay Hawaii’s 7.25 percent transient accommodations tax. The Senate members who signed the resolution include: Sens. Carol Fukunaga, Roz Baker, Brian Kanno, Gary Hooser, Clarence Nishihara, Ron Menor, Russell Kokubun, Kalani English, Colleen Hanabusa and Brian Taniguchi. [All are Democrats.]
When NCL refused to bend over to the legislators’ demands, Sen. Kanno helped Rouse get a job as office manager for State Representative Rida Cabanilla, D-Waipahu starting in January, 2005. As news of his criminal record came to light, Rouse quickly became a political liability—but even then still had his defenders.
Former Hawaii State Democratic chair Richard Port wrote an April 15, 2005 opinion column in support of Rouse. The AFL-CIO backed him. But he was forced to resign his position working for Cabanilla. According to the April 9, 2005 Honolulu Advertiser:
“Rouse said he did not tell Cabanilla, D-42nd (Waipahu, Honouliuli, 'Ewa), about the conviction for fear he would not be hired and said she was upset when she first heard. ‘The lady is a sweetheart,’ he said. ‘I didn't want to be on her back. I didn't want to taint these people who had nothing to do with it.’”
In an April 23, 2005 letter to the editor of the Star-Bulletin one of Cabanilla’s supporters claimed, “The fact is, Cabanilla did not know of the incident in the Philippines (where Rouse spent eight years in prison).”
Apparently those excuses are no longer available to Cabanilla. Neither she nor Rouse returned this reporter’s phone call requesting comment about her decision to re-hire the convicted molester. Personnel answering the phone at Cabanilla’s legislative office did confirm Rouse’s employment there but refused to answer any questions and hung up on this reporter.
Cabanilla is not the only legislator to employ Rouse. In full knowledge of his criminal record, Rouse was hired for the 2006 session in a new position as a legislative committee assistant serving one of his original backers, Sen. Roz Baker. Rouse is also credited for helping launch Kanno’s abortive political career.
Even so, why would Democrats take such political risks for a child molester? Perhaps because Rouse’s contributions to the Democratic Party may be decisive to its very existence.
Rouse is credited by some for the 1982 passage in his native Wisconsin of the nation’s very first so-called “gay rights” law. This effort was integral in the formation of those who engage in homosexual acts into a political interest group tied to the Democrat Party. The creation of such interest groups was key to the party’s continued electoral survival after the collapse of Democrats’ system of segregation had led to the loss of their previous white racist base.
The newly passed law was just the beginning. Gay magazine Blueboy describes Rouse as the first to use gay rights as an excuse to drive the military off campus:
The current nationwide movement to force ROTC, and by extension the Department of Defense, to stop discriminating against sexual non-conformists or to get off campus began in 1982, when Wisconsin became the first state to pass a lesbian and gay civil rights law. Two students at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Eric Jernberg and Leon Rouse, decided to ask their school to adhere to the spirit of the new law by suspending participation in the ROTC program if that program continued to violate the terms of the statute.
The anti-military campaign started by Rouse in 1982 was finally killed 24 years later by the unanimous March 6, 2006, Supreme Court ruling upholding the Solomon Amendment which requires federally funded colleges to allow access to military recruiters. But in those 24 years, anti-military efforts were a key tool in the establishment of the modern-day Marxist academic monopoly on US campuses—another key to the construction of the post-segregation Democrat base.
Rouse’s service to his party may explain the help he received from many elected Democrats in the US Congress. According to the May 22, 2005, Honolulu Advertiser:
U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-HI, and U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-HI, informed a friend of Rouse’s on Maui that they had written to the Philippine ambassador to the United States. Both the late U.S. Rep. Patsy Mink, D-HI, and U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-HI, wrote to the State Department.
In Rouse’s home state of Wisconsin, U.S. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-WI, and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-WI, along with several U.S. House members, wrote letters for Rouse. (Former) U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-PA, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, wrote to the State Department, as did U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, among the most liberal members of the House of Representatives…
Former Big Island [Democratic] State Sen. Andrew Levin wrote to the American ambassador in Manila to look into whether Rouse was denied due process. Levin also asked then-Gov. Ben Cayetano’s office for advice about whether the Democrat-controlled state Legislature should pass a resolution requesting that Congress investigate Rouse’s plight.
The Clinton-era U.S. Embassy in Manila contacted the Philippine authorities on Rouse’s behalf.
According to an October 29, 2002, article in the Wisconsin gay community newspaper In Step:
Rouse has been actively pursuing his case from prison, personally and through family and friends, contacting several members of the U.S. Congress for help. Rouse and supporters wrote letters to Rep. Gerald Kleczka, Rep. Tom Barrett, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Sen. Russell Feingold, Sen. Herb Kohl, and Sen. Daniel Inouye. Personal pleas were also made to the Philippine Ambassador to the United States and other government officials, all to little effect.
In recent years, Rouse also corresponded with [then-] Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland. Weakland wrote a letter to Cardinal Jaime Sin of the Philippines, asking for help on Rouse’s behalf.
Weakland, one of the most liberal Catholic Archbishops, resigned in disgrace in 2002 after revelations of a sex-and-hush-money scandal.
Given these levels of support one might expect that Rouse had an exculpatory story, but even the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a July, 2005 report on an appeal by Rouse – a report which Rouse claims proves his innocence – describes the circumstances of Rouse’s arrest in damning terms:
Around noon on the day of arrest, he [Rouse] arrived at Pichay Lodging House, where he saw Harty Dancel, a former acquaintance, accompanied by two individuals, Pedro Augustin and Godfrey Domingo. The four of them had lunch in a restaurant, where Dancel offered Godfrey to have sex with the author. The author refused, arguing that the latter was too young, even after Dancel insisted and assured him he had reached the age of majority.
Later in the day, the same three persons waited for the author at his hotel. Dancel had them invited to the author’s room. After the author [Rouse] had taken a shower, Dancel and Augustin left the room, leaving him alone with Godfrey. The latter requested to use the bathroom, where he undressed. When there were knocks on the door, the author opened, and police officers entered. At that moment, neither the author nor Godfrey wore clothes.
In the initial Philippine court decision the events are described thus:
On or about the 4th day of October 1995, in the City of Laoag, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the herein accused did then and there, willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously by using his adult influence and promising to pay 200 pesos ($3.79 US), engage one Godfrey Domingo, a male child who is below 18 years of age, as in fact he is 15 years old, for lascivious acts and committed said acts by masturbating and sucking the penis of the child and inserting his penis into the anus of the child all of which acts were committed by the accused on said child at Room 205 of the Pichay Lodging House at Laoag City, but which acts although already performed by the accused on the child was discontinued due to the intervention of the police who apprehended the accused who was then naked and in the company of Godfrey Domingo who was also naked in Room 205 of the Pichay Lodging House.
Rouse appealed all the way to the Philippine Supreme Court where his appeal was denied on April 23, 2003. He served eight years of a 10-to-15-year sentence in New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City. After complaining of kidney stones, Rouse was released by the Philippine authorities on September 29, 2003 and immediately deported and banished for life from the Philippines.