WAILUKU - A Makawao man was sentenced Friday to a 10-year prison term for raping a 14-year-old girl last year in a crime that her father called "devastating" for the family.
Julian Aquino, 24, had asked to be released from jail and placed on probation.
He said he wanted to let the girl know "how sorry I am for what I had done."
"My actions were unthoughtful," Aquino said in court. "As a young man, I admit I have made some foolish choices, which I regret.
"I'm humble, caring and loving. I'm in no way rebellious. I'll do whatever it takes to show how sorry I am for my actions."
His mother and two sisters said they wanted to see Aquino return home.
"He respects women," said Aquino's older sister Leilani Aquino. "He would never do anything intentionally to hurt women."
The victim's father said he didn't know Aquino but had a different view of him based on the rape of his daughter on Father's Day last year.
The father said that after his daughter's request to spend the night of June 19 at a friend's house was denied, she ran away. "Unfortunately and regrettably, we chose not to pursue her, believing she would return," he said.
"The events that followed could not have been more painful or devastating to her or the rest of our family," he said. "Next to finding your daughter dead, I could not think of anything more devastating than her being raped. My daughter, wife and I were forever changed by those tortuous hours."
After leaving home that night, the girl called her friend, then contacted Aquino, whom she had met several days earlier, according to her testimony at a preliminary hearing a few days later. He helped her get a ride to Makawao near her friend's house but when she couldn't again contact her friend, she and Aquino walked to his home at a trailer nearby.
In the early-morning hours of June 20, the girl said she bit, punched and pushed Aquino to try to stop him from raping her.
The girl's father said he was impressed by his daughter's bravery in testifying candidly about what happened. The father said he was "proud of and astounded by her strength and determination to set right the wrong that was perpetrated upon her."
First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera said the girl was held down by Aquino and a medical examination showed she suffered injuries from the attack.
At 14, the girl was too young to legally consent to sex with someone more than five years older than her.
Aquino told police he thought the girl was 18 or 19 "when she was clearly 14," Rivera said.
"She looked like a child, spoke like a child and acted like a child," he said.
"All this defendant had to do was leave her alone and take her home," Rivera said. "But he knew, as a troubled 14-year-old, she was the perfect prey."
Aquino had pleaded no contest to two reduced charges of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree sexual assault.
A probation officer's report prepared for Aquino's sentencing listed 19 factors supporting prison and none favoring the withholding of a jail term, Rivera said. He said Aquino refused to sign a consent form to disclose to the court his juvenile record, which includes an "adjudication as a sexual predator and sex offender."
While incarcerated as the case was pending for the past year, Aquino was disciplined for assault, threatening and alleged sexual misconduct against another inmate, Rivera said.
Although Aquino said a prison sentence wouldn't help him, Rivera said "it serves a greater purpose for society."
"As a sexual predator and as a sex offender against children, the defendant needs to be removed from society," Rivera said.
With both the girl's family and Aquino's family in the courtroom gallery Friday, "we have two families that love their child," said 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo.
"But that's where the comparisons stop," she said. "A 14-year-old versus a 23-year-old. I have a young girl versus a man. I have a naive innocent person versus someone definitely more savvy, more worldly.
"No amount of sorrys or 'I didn't mean it' or 'I feel remorse' will ever restore (the girl's) virginity or her innocence."
Loo said she was appalled by Aquino's behavior and his statement to police that the girl had coerced him. "I don't think so, not even close," she told Aquino. "Your attitude is callous. It borders on arrogance."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.