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Bellator MMA champ files sexual assault lawsuit against former coach

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Even though I’ve been a strong voice for other wahine toa—creating my scholarship for native girls, teaching self-defense to them, leading healing retreats for women—I never really shared my own story. To be honest, I was in denial and didn’t want to admit that it affected me as much as it did. I have to be strong. I’m a professional fighter. I can’t show any vulnerability. I can’t give him the satisfaction of knowing how much he infiltrated my thoughts, relationships and life even 15 years later. But here we are. The time is now. And for all the trolls saying, “wHy DiD u wAiT s0 l0nG?!” Idiots. We didn’t “wait”. My sister reported him to the school right when it happened and they swept it under the rug. Punahou knew I was a victim and witness to my own sister’s abuse and didn’t even bother to check on me. As a result we were retaliated against by him and the basketball program and had to see him everyday, still allowed on campus around minors. My sister and I tried our best to move on with our lives until it resurfaced in 2018 when more victims came forward. Punahou claimed they were doing an internal investigation but again, didn’t contact me and refused to share the results of the “investigation” with my sister. Disgustingly, we found out that he’s STILL coaching and teaching minor girls. So here we are now, 15 years later seeking justice together. He can’t get away with this anymore. Dwayne Yuen, YOUR TIME IS UP. P.S. I chose this picture not only for the solidarity that my family and I have together through this process, but to show you how old me and Mahina were when the sexual grooming and abuse started. I was in 6th grade and she (far right) was a freshman.

A post shared by Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (@ilimanator) on

Reigning Bellator MMA flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, along with two other former students from Punahou School in Honolulu, recently filed suit against former basketball coach, Dwayne Yen, for alleged sexual assault from 2004-05.

That’s according to a report from Hawaii News Now.

Macfarlane and her sister, Mahina Macfarlane Souza, claim Yen “forced them to touch his genitals, offered cash for sex acts and sent explicit photos of himself” when they were just 12 and 14, with the unnamed third student providing transcripts of “threatening texts and phone messages” in Wednesday’s suit.

“The time is now and for all the trolls saying, ‘wHy DiD u wAiT s0 l0nG?!’ ... idiots. We didn’t ‘wait.’ My sister reported him to the school right when it happened and they swept it under the rug,” Macfarlane wrote on Instagram. “Punahou knew I was a victim and witness to my own sister’s abuse and didn’t even bother to check on me. As a result we were retaliated against by him and the basketball program and had to see him everyday, still allowed on campus around minors.”

Punahou officials told reporters they were “heartbroken” by the accounts and conducting their own internal investigation; however, Macfarlane did not have many kind words for the institution after additional victims came forward.

“My sister and I tried our best to move on with our lives until it resurfaced in 2018 when more victims came forward,” Macfarlane continued. “Punahou claimed they were doing an internal investigation but again, didn’t contact me and refused to share the results of the ‘investigation’ with my sister. Disgustingly, we found out that he’s STILL coaching and teaching minor girls. So here we are now, 15 years later seeking justice together. He can’t get away with this anymore. Dwayne Yuen, YOUR TIME IS UP.”

Macfarlane, 30, captured a unanimous decision over Kate Jackson at Bellator 236 last December to improve her undefeated record to 11-0.