Eighteen months, probation for man in sexual assault of girl over 5 years

WAILUKU – A Kahului man is serving an 18-month jail term for sexually assaulting a girl who also reported being sexually molested by his father over a five-year period.

Chad “Kama” Kukona-Pacheco, 26, also was placed on five years’ probation and required to participate in sex offender treatment.

Second Circuit Judge Richard Bissen said the sentence was appropriate, after Kukona-Pacheco acknowledged in court Thursday that he was responsible for participating in the crimes.

“Accepting responsibility was the first thing. That will make you eligible for sex offender treatment,” Bissen told Kukona-Pacheco. “If you’re saying you did not commit these crimes, the punishment would be prison.”

Kukona-Pacheco had pleaded no contest to four reduced counts of second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault, with the prosecution dismissing six other charges.

Police said the sexual assaults on the girl began in 2004, when she was 4 years old and continued until 2009.

The girl, who is related to Kukona-Pacheco and his father, Stanley Pacheco, was 8 years old when Kukona-Pacheco forced her into sexual acts with him at three residences in Wailuku and Kahului, said Deputy Prosecutor Iwalani Mountcastle.

In one incident, the girl said Kukona-Pacheco threatened to punch her if she told anyone what he did, Mountcastle said. Another time, the girl said Kukona-Pacheco grabbed her arm when she tried to run away, Mountcastle said.

She said the plea agreement was made at the girl’s request to spare her from “further trauma, humiliation and embarrassment” if the case had gone to trial.

Although Kukona-Pacheco’s confession to police confirmed incidents described by the girl, some letters from family members and friends indicated that Kukona-Pacheco hadn’t told them what happened, Mountcastle said.

“It appears he’s convinced everyone around him of his innocence,” she said. “He’s managed to manipulate so many of his family and friends into believing he has done nothing wrong.

“What is even more disturbing is the defendant seems to have access to so many children in his life.”

Noting that about half of the 22 letters to the court said Kukona-Pacheco was innocent, the judge asked the defendant if he was taking the blame for someone else.

“No, sir,” Kukona-Pacheco replied.

“I need to know – were you wrongfully accused?” Bissen asked Kukona-Pacheco.

“No,” he replied.

“Were you forced to confess to the police?” Bissen asked.

“No,” Kukona-Pacheco said.

He also acknowledged that he knew his father was sexually assaulting the girl at about the same time and that other family members knew what his father was doing.

“And no one did anything to stop this – those who were aware of what was going on in that house – is that right?” Bissen asked.

“Yes,” Kukona-Pacheco replied.

Bissen said a letter from the girl showed “she is refusing to let this define who she is.”

“She is stronger for this despite the fact that so many adults who knew did nothing and so many adults today continue to blame her, as though she had asked for this,” Bissen said. “The message should be that the wrongdoing in this case came from the adults. This young girl had nothing to do with this.”

Kukona-Pacheco was ordered to participate in sex offender treatment. He also was ordered to have no contact with any minor child and not to live in the same residence as a minor unless he has permission from his probation officer.

His father, Stanley Pacheco, 63, was sentenced last year to 18 months in jail and five years’ probation after pleading no contest to two reduced counts of second-degree sexual assault, two reduced counts of attempted second-degree sexual assault and third-degree sexual assault.

In another sentencing Thursday, a Molokai man was given a chance to keep convictions off his record for the theft of two rifles taken in a burglary three years ago.

Newton Pescaia III, 26, had pleaded no contest to first- and third-degree theft and two counts of illegal transfer of a firearm. A first-degree burglary charge was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The Marlin .35-caliber lever-action rifle and Remington .22-caliber rifle were stolen from the home on Molokai in August 2010 and sold for cash to two different people, said Deputy Prosecutor Jeffery Temas. He said both firearms were recovered.

Deputy Public Defender Shelly Miyashiro said Pescaia has no prior convictions and took responsibility for the offenses.

“He was homeless and was struggling and did need money for the basic necessities,” Miyashiro said.

Second Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza granted Pescaia’s request for a chance to keep the convictions off his record if he follows court requirements for the next five years.

Following a plea agreement recommending no jail, Cardoza ordered Pescaia to perform 200 hours of community service. He also was ordered to have no contact with the victim, pay $250 in restitution and write a letter apologizing to the victim.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.