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Old Friend Of Obama Faces Solicitation Charge

"A regular Hawaii golfing buddy and Punahou School friend of President Barack Obama was among four people arrested Monday night during a prostitution sting operation in Kakaako by Honolulu police," Honololu's Star Advertiserreported today. It adds that "Waialua resident Robert Richard 'Bobby' Titcomb, 49, was arrested at South and Pohukaina streets at 9:40 p.m. Monday."

He's been charged, according to the newspaper, with "a petty misdemeanor that carries a $500 fine. People convicted may also face probation, community service or up to 30 days in jail."

The Associated Press adds that Titcomb "attended Punahou School in Honolulu with Obama in the 1970s. The president graduated in 1979, a year before Titcomb. The two often play golf and basketball, go to the beach and dine together when the president returns home to Hawaii for vacation."

And, says the AP, "the White House had no comment. Titcomb has not publicly responded to the charges, and he wasn't immediately available for comment."

According to the Star Advertiser:

"Michael J. Ramos, a 1978 Punahou graduate and another member of Obama's annual Hawaii entourage, said he has known Titcomb for 30 years. 'I love him like a brother, he's a great friend, he's got a big heart and he's a good man,' he said. 'I just feel really bad for him in this situation. It's a personal matter and I hope he will have some privacy to work it out.'

"Ramos, who now lives in Denver, last saw Titcomb during Obama's last visit here in December-January.

" 'He's someone I look up to in many ways. He embodies the best of the aloha spirit and I just feel bad for him."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.