WAILUKU - A boy was commended for his courage in reporting he had been sexually assaulted, as the man responsible for the crime was sentenced Wednesday to a 10-year prison term.
Jerome Sells, 45, who is also known as Kamaki, had pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of second-degree sexual assault for the January 2010 offense.
He declined to speak at the sentencing, which First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera said was "not too surprising," even though the boy's mother and a friend were in the courtroom gallery.
While the criminal case had been pending, Sells had tried to fake a mental illness, saying voices told him to act, and also tried to blame the victim for the crime, Rivera said.
He said the boy's family agreed with the plea agreement reducing Sells' prison sentence by half.
The family had taken in Sells because he was homeless, Rivera said. "He repaid that kindness by perpetrating this act."
Rivera said the victim "did something very brave" by telling his parents.
"This is probably one of the most courageous things he had done or will ever do in his young life," Rivera said. "For male victims to report sexual offenses committed against them, that's rare.
"What he did was very courageous, notwithstanding the cowardice of this defendant."
The boy's mother said her son was changed by what Sells did.
"I'm very angry," she said in court. "I don't know why you would do something like this. Even if you said why, there's no excuse. This is not like a hit where he heals. This is forever. He's going to have to remember this forever.
"You need to go on your knees and you need to ask God for forgiveness," the mother told Sells. "Right now, I don't have one ounce of feeling of forgiveness toward you because I have to look at my son every day.
"I don't think 10 years is enough. I don't think 50 is enough. I'm a mom, he's my baby. Now we have to do our best in raising him and helping him to have security and confidence."
Second Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo noted that the boy was 13 when Sells committed the sexual assault, then told the boy not to tell.
"Thank goodness he did tell," Loo said. "Young male victims are rare to come forward because it's such a humiliating experience for them."
It was no way for Sells to treat family, she said.
"When you were down, they helped you," Loo told Sells. "This young boy was very brave to come forward. He was deeply affected. Hopefully, the scars will heal with the good parenting that comes from that very stable home he comes from."
Sells was ordered to pay $400 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.