WAILUKU - A 2nd Circuit Court jury began deliberations Wednesday in the trial of a Wailuku man charged with repeatedly forcing two children into sexual acts during a five-year period.
William Barrios, 46, has pleaded not guilty to 180 charges alleging he sexually assaulted a girl and her younger brother from 2004 to 2009, when both were under age 14.
During closing arguments to jurors Wednesday morning, Deputy Prosecutor Carson Tani said, "2004 to 2009 were the years of no hope" for the children.
They "felt trapped in a hopeless situation," Tani said.
"Normally when children are in trouble, they seek protection from their parents," he said. "But in this case, they had no solution because their father had passed away in 2004. Their mother was a drug user and didn't protect them."
During testimony that began Oct. 2 in the trial, both children said Barrios forced them into sexual acts with him at residences in Pukalani and Wailuku and during overnight camping trips when other adults weren't present. The children's mother testified that at times Barrios forced her and her daughter to perform sexual acts with him at the same time in a bedroom of their home.
For both children, the sexual assaults began when they were 8 years old, Tani said.
"These were young kids put in a serious situation with seemingly no way out," Tani said. "And yet these children coped."
The counts against Barrios include first-degree sexual assault, attempted first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping and third-degree sexual assault.
Defense attorney Jon Apo, in his closing arguments Wednesday, asked jurors to acquit Barrios of the "overzealously shotgunned charges."
"In order to find Mr. Barrios guilty of a single count of these crazy allegations, you got to presume him guilty," Apo said. "You got to ignore all the inconsistencies in the stories being passed off as evidence. You got to accept excuses for the complete lack of evidence in this case."
He said police didn't interview neighbors, teachers or counselors, and there was "not a single piece of physical evidence" in the case.
Apo said the allegations included in more than 300 jury instructions, which took all day to read Tuesday, were "meant to brainwash you" through the repetition of the phrase that "William Barrios did engage in sexual assault."
Apo said most of the testimony about the alleged sexual acts amounted to a description of the act and the number of times it occurred. "You've been given one story, then told it happened so many times a month," Apo said.
Tani said there were two incidents of sexual assault that the girl clearly remembered. One was in July 2007, as she was preparing to enter a new school, when Barrios hit her and attempted to sexually penetrate her, Tani said. He said the other incident was in July 2009 when Barrios took her and other children camping at Olowalu.
Apo argued the girl's description of how the Olowalu sexual assault allegedly occurred was physically "impossible."
Barrios didn't testify during the trial.
Apo said Barrios wasn't required to present evidence to prove anything.
"Mr. Barrios' accusers are a desperate drug-induced mother living in a haze and a couple of kids who hate him for being a religious disciplinarian," Apo said.
Barrios was charged in the case after the children's mother went to police in March 2010, when Barrios wasn't on Maui, according to trial testimony. Her daughter said Barrios had threatened to hurt anyone she told and her family.
Tani said that a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating child sexual abuse victims testified that delayed disclosure of sexual abuse in young children "is the rule, not the exception."
"It's not unusual," Tani said.
Judge Rhonda Loo is presiding over the trial.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.