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Inouye’s Wife Stands By Him Despite Hairdresser’s Claims

October 19, 1992 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) _ Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s wife came to her husband’s defense after his hair stylist accused the Hawaii Democrat of sexually assaulting her 17 years ago.

Inouye’s Republican opponent, state Sen. Rick Reed, began airing ads Friday that used secretly recorded tapes in which the hairdresser, Lenore Kwock, described the alleged assault. But Reed canceled the ads the next day after Kwock - while standing by her allegations - threatened to sue.

On Sunday, Inouye’s wife of 43 years, Maggie, said, ″My trust in Dan is unshakable.″

″It’s sad that it’s happening to a decent and responsible and honest man. I do hope that Mr. Reed will change his course in campaigning,″ Mrs. Inouye said. ″And I just feel very sorry for the lady involved, also.″

The 68-year-old senator, who is seeking his sixth full term in the Senate, also denied the allegations and said of Kwock, ″I feel bad for her being dragged through all this muck and slime.″

At a news conference Friday, Kwock, 40, said that Inouye attacked her when she ran an errand to his Waikiki apartment in 1975 and that he later molested her at her salon as she shampooed his hair.

She said she didn’t consider the attack rape because she didn’t fight back, and never told Inouye his advances upset her.

A former Reed campaign worker, Umeko Walker, made the tape during a conversation with Kwock last month. Walker admitted last week she had recorded the conversation without Kwock’s knowledge.

The ads did not identify Kwock by name but described her as Inouye’s ″barber of 20 years.″

Kwock said she decided to go public because she didn’t want Reed to distort the story.

On Sunday, Reed apologized to Kwock for forcing her to go public. ″I pulled those messages because I simply didn’t want to continue what I could see was causing Lenore hardship,″ he said.

But Reed said the ads accomplished their purpose. He said of the alleged assault, ″This is something the people of Hawaii need to seriously consider.″