Fifteen years in prison for man’s ‘poor decision,’ assault of Pukalani girl, 12

WAILUKU – A man was sentenced to a 15-year prison term for sexually assaulting a Pukalani girl four years ago when he lived in the same neighborhood.

Johnny Alba, 47, had been extradited from Texas to face charges in the case.

He had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault.

The sexual assaults occurred in October and November 2009.

Prosecuting Attorney John D. Kim said that Alba threatened the girl, saying harm would come to her family if she didn’t keep what he did a secret.

“His claim of consensual sex with a 12-year-old is beyond belief,” Kim said.

He said the girl has suffered emotional and psychological damage, and her family also has been harmed.

“He deserves the 15 years,” Kim said.

While Kim said a report prepared for Alba’s sentencing listed only aggravating factors in support of prison, defense attorney Sam MacRoberts said that the report should have included a handful of other factors that would have supported withholding jail for Alba.

Alba had stable employment on Maui and has a strong family support system in Texas, MacRoberts said. He said Alba previously led a law-abiding life and was unlikely to commit another crime. Alba had recommitted himself to his religion and was willing to enter sex offender treatment, MacRoberts said.

“There’s no real explanation for how this happened, but I think he’s going to take advantage of his treatment,” MacRoberts said.

Alba said he was sorry.

“I made a poor decision in my life,” Alba said in court Friday. “I know I’ll pay for it. I want and I need rehabilitation for myself.”

He said alcohol was “a big influence in what I did.”

Since then, he said, he hasn’t consumed liquor for three years.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said police reports included Alba’s explanations that the sexual assaults occurred when he was drunk after a wild party and that the girl was the one who sexually assaulted him.

“Why did he do this? Maybe because he didn’t think he’d get caught,” Bissen said. “Maybe because of the threats he made to her as to what would happen to her and her family. And it worked for a little time.

“The most obvious explanation is he did this because he could. He wanted sexual gratification. He found someone who was an easy target. I don’t know if he stopped and planned it, but it happened. And it happened more than once.”

Even though Alba had agreed to the 15-year prison sentence, he said in a letter to the court that “10 years is enough for what I did,” Bissen said.

“I don’t know what remorse that is – that he wants to back out of what he agreed to,” the judge said.

He said that the facts of the case warranted the 15-year prison sentence.

Alba has already spent about a year in jail.

In another sentencing, a Washington state man was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $740 in restitution after pleading no contest Thursday to two reduced charges of third-degree theft.

Richard E. Thomas, 34, of Kennewick also was ordered to pay $2,050 for extradition costs before he made a voluntary appearance in court.

The theft charges were for taking a ring from his former wife and pawning it while they were in the middle of a divorce in October 2011, according to court records.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza imposed the sentence.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at