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Ilima-Lei Macfarlane accuses school of retaliation after sex abuse lawsuit

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Bellator champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane’s father was fired from school at the center of her sex abuse lawsuit.

Esther Lin / MMA Fightng

[CW: The following article includes details regarding accusations of sexual abuse]

Last month Bellator flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and two other women filed a lawsuit against Dwayne Yuen, a former basketball coach at Punahou School in Honolulu, HI.

Macfarlane, who attended Punahou as a kindergartner and graduated in 2009, claimed that Yuen groomed her and her sister when they were 12 and 14-years old, offered cash for sex acts and sent explicit photos of himself. In the lawsuit a third former Punahou student accused Yuen of sexual abuse.

Macfarlane’s lawsuit also accuses a number of school administrators of knowing about the alleged abuse and failing to protect students.

Over the weekend KITV4 reported that Macfarlane’s father, Walter Macfarlane — who had spent 38-years as a teacher, coach and SAT proctor at Punahou school — had been fired.

Walter Macfarlane, who said he learned he was fired via text message, released a statement to KITV4.

“Today I was informed directly by Punahou School that I was no longer welcome to continue my work with student testing classes...There was no misunderstanding as to what I was told. I was told in no uncertain terms that I can’t work there anymore. My daughters were courageous in coming forward after they were sexually abused at Punahou School, and now Punahou School is coming after me. This is very sad.”

Punahou also released a statement regarding Walter Macfarlane’s firing.

“To preserve the integrity of the independent investigation into allegations at Punahou, all current employees identified in the complaints will be taking leave with pay. Our employees are not named as defendants in the complaints. They do, however, recognize the need for the process to be completed in the most forthright and objective way possible. Punahou supports their decisions and looks forward to a full and fair investigation of the facts.”

Macfarlane told Hawaii News Now that her father’s firing was retaliation for the lawsuit. “For them to fire him today basically through a text message was pretty just, OK, now we see how they feel about the survivors.”

“Dwayne Yuen, you messed with the wrong group of girls and now we are all strong women. Your time is up,” added Macfarlane.

One of the other plaintiffs spoke to HNN about Punahou’s decision to keep employees named in the lawsuit on the payroll.

“Punahou’s decision to allow certain administrators, faculty and staff with knowledge of sex abuse problems to remain employed is disappointing,” she said. “It is devastating to see administrators responsible for these sex abuse problems receiving protection and financial support from the school.”

Punahou claims they are investigating the accusations against Yuen and have promised ‘transparency and elevated standards’ while the lawsuit proceeds.

Survivors of sexual assault can find support via the following organizations:

US - Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). RAINN also has an online chat service.

Love is Respect, 1-866-331-9474. They can also be reached via online chat or by texting LOVEIS to 22522.

End Rape on Campus (EROC), 1-424-777-EROC (3762).

Canada - Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, 1-877-232-2610.

UK - UK Says No More.

Rest of the World - International Rape Crisis Hotlines.