A transgender woman in Hawaii is being hailed a hero for secretly recording her supervisor’s sexual advances on Facebook Live.
Now the Honolulu boss is facing criminal charges—and is under investigation for claims, captured on video, that he allowed other community-service underlings to go home early in exchange for sexual favors.
Makana Milho, 21, told The Daily Beast she feared for her safety when she began recording her interaction with the creepy city groundskeeper.
“The universe was spinning,” Milho said. “I thought he could do basically anything to me. I felt my power was stripped away from me.”
“I do watch the news,” Milho added. “I saw one lady who Facebook-Lived her boyfriend’s death. I just did it.”
The student had no idea she’d be propositioned when she appeared for community service at Honolulu’s parks and rec department.
Milho was cleaning restrooms for six days in exchange for having a criminal record expunged. (In 2014, she snatched a luxury bag from Neiman Marcus. She pleaded no contest to theft in the second degree in exchange for a case deferral, records show.)
But on the fifth day, Milho had a different supervisor.
The much-older man allegedly drove her to an isolated park, then made his move. He pinched and slapped her buttocks, then offered to send her home early if she got physical with him, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
In footage reviewed by The Daily Beast, the boss asked Milho to perform oral sex—all before bragging about his other community-service hookups, which he said included one young mother who was “the best I had in a long time.”
Milho secretly livestreamed the July 22 encounter on Facebook and got 197,000 views before she removed the video this week after receiving hateful messages online, including from other members of the LGBT community, who accused her of being a prostitute who egged the man on.
“I took it down because I was getting so much backlash,” she said. “People were saying it’s my fault. People were making fun of the situation. I wasn’t comfortable being a punchline to something serious that happened to me.”
On Tuesday, Honolulu cops arrested 47-year-old Harold Villanueva Jr. and charged him with fourth-degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor.
Villanueva Jr., who was arraigned Wednesday, was granted supervised release, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office told The Daily Beast.
Milho’s Facebook Live video prompted the police investigation. She recorded about 30 minutes of conversation between her and the Department of Parks and Recreation employee across three separate videos.
Honolulu police would not comment on the ongoing investigation. Villanueva Jr., who had worked for the city since 2002, and his public defender could not be reached for comment.
According to the mayor’s office, Villanueva Jr. was placed on administrative leave without pay pending an investigation by the parks department. The community service program is also being probed, the office said in a statement.
Milho said if she hadn't recorded her interactions with Villanueva Jr., no one would have taken her seriously. She risked Villanueva Jr. calling her probation officer and being sent to prison.
“I didn’t expect it to go viral,” Milho said in an interview Thursday. “What people don’t get is that I did it for my own personal safety, as proof. I didn’t expect people to share it and share it and watch.”
She said Villanueva Jr. immediately began asking her uncomfortable questions: Was she born a woman? Did she have smaller breasts before?
Around 7 a.m., Milho began cleaning a men’s bathroom in a park when she heard someone urinating in a stall. Soon after, Villanueva Jr. allegedly appeared and pinched her behind. “I said, ‘Stop, what are you doing?’ He kept on walking away,” Milho told The Daily Beast.
When she met him in the county truck, he allegedly told her no one would believe her because she’s a “felon.”
The first recording begins with Milho saying, “So I’m doing my community service and this guy, he’s been propositioning me, asking me about my tits. He’s coming soon but I’m going to leave it online so you guys can all see and see what he’s talking about. It’s disgusting.”
With her phone hidden in her handbag, she asks about his self-professed pattern of propositioning young women.
“So if I was to do something to you, you’d let me go home early?” Milho asks in the footage. Villanueva Jr. replies, “Up to you, but we finish this first,” referring to their job.
He even admits that one woman in the community service program complained about him, the footage shows.
“She said that I would proposition her… and all that kind of stuff. I said, ‘Ah, we was just talking casually, you know.’ Then they said not to talk to her,” Villanueva Jr. tells Milho in the recording.
By the third video, Villanueva Jr. has discussed in graphic detail the sexual acts he’s performed with other women—and the ones he could do with her.
“If you don’t want a condom, I wouldn’t mind a blow job,” Villanueva Jr. says.
“I can ask my friend if they have a condom,” Milho replies. (Milho told The Daily Beast she was in an unfamiliar area and said this with the hope he’d drive her to a safer place.)
Villanueva Jr. then indicates he wants Milho to “jag” him off.
“Oh, I got to kiss you too?” Milho asks, to which Villanueva Jr. replies, “I don’t know. If you like, but I like kissing.”
“I’ll think about it,” she tells him.
Villanueva Jr. is heard telling Milho, “Up to you. You can go home pretty soon. If not, I’m going to have to keep you at least till 1 o’clock.”
“If I don’t do sexual stuff, I have to stay till 1 o’clock?” Milho replies.
“Yeah, because if not, we have to go back and do whatever,” Villanueva Jr. says.
Milho tagged the Honolulu Police Department in her viral Facebook video that day. “I was doing my community service & this city and county of Honolulu employee told me to do sexual acts for him,” she wrote in her post.
“He said if I told anyone they would not believe me because I’m a felon,” Milho added. “I was uncomfortable and stuck all the way up on Royal summit in the city and county truck. I said anything to keep him on his side of the truck until we got to a more public area. I decided to secretly record as proof and for my safety. On top of that he spanked my butt.
“This isn’t right on so many levels,” she concluded.
Even worse, Milho has experienced sexual assault as a child and was sent into foster care, her attorney, Myles Breiner, told The Daily Beast.
“Eventually she aged out [of foster care], then realized her true identity as a transgender individual,” Breiner said. “The foster parents she was living with… told her if she didn’t come up with rent money to continue living in their home,” they’d kick her out.
The foster parents allegedly ordered Milho to steal the handbag that landed her in community service in the first place, Breiner said. The lawyer says he’s tried to get the prosecutor’s office to pursue the case. (The Daily Beast was unable to confirm the foster parent allegation.)
“She is a victim not only of the probation system, but the guy that assaulted her… He’s admitted doing this to other māhū,” the attorney added, referring to the Hawaiian term for transgender people.
Milho was under court order. If she didn’t do the community service, she’d lose her deferral of prosecution and possibly go to prison for five years, Breiner said. He said Milho eventually plans to file a civil rights claim against the city over the incident.
“Without the ability to capture this, it would have been ‘he said, she said,’ and she would have been found in violation of the program,” he said.
Milho still has one more day of community service to complete. She says she’s been unable to schedule her final hours as the state judiciary reviews the program.
“It’s personal and emotional for me,” Milho said. “He definitely needs to be held accountable for his actions. He admits in my video he’s done this to other people.
“Something positive definitely needs to come out of this.”