WAILUKU - For what a deputy prosecutor called a "classic alcohol-facilitated rape" of a girl, a 23-year-old Kahului man was sentenced Thursday to a five-year prison term.
"You're here because you committed a rather heinous offense against a very vulnerable person," 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill told Andrew E. Williams.
"Part of sentencing is punishment. But the punishment isn't only with respect to you. It's to acknowledge to everyone out there and to the victim that the action cannot go without consequences."
Williams originally was charged with first-degree sexual assault of the 17-year-old girl, who is related to him. As part of a plea agreement, he had been allowed to plead no contest to a lesser charge of second-degree assault for the offense that occurred in Kahului in April 2012. Two charges of promoting intoxicating liquor to a minor were dismissed.
"Although the charges have been reduced, it doesn't change the facts of this case," said First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera.
The girl, who has since moved to the Mainland with her father, becomes physically ill and emotional when she thinks about going to court for the case, he said. "The hardship she's going through is primarily because of this case, which I would classify as your classic alcohol-facilitated rape."
But while such rapes usually involve two adults, with one taking advantage when the other has had too much to drink, in this case Williams was supposed to be looking after the underage girl, Rivera said.
"Instead of doing that, he took advantage of her," Rivera said. "It was easy for him because she was in such an alcoholic stupor. She was not in a position to make any type of decision to protect herself.
"This defendant was supposed to be accompanying her home to protect her from a predator. In her state, she didn't realize the predator she needed protection from was this person."
Rivera said that when he saw the girl, she had lost 40 to 60 pounds. She was "going through such a hard time in her life that she contemplated harming herself," Rivera said.
"There was a big rift in the family because part of the family did support the defendant, who has had a troubled life," Rivera said.
When questioned by police, Williams at first denied any sexual contact with the girl, Rivera said. But when confronted with DNA evidence, Williams acknowledged the contact but minimized his role, he said.
"Not only was there DNA evidence, there was vomit and puke all over her clothing," Rivera said. "She didn't want it, and she was drunk."
He said the girl can't get out of her mind the image of how Williams forced her to perform oral sex on him.
"It haunts her in the morning. It haunts her during the day," Rivera said. "It haunts her to the point where she cannot sleep."
While Rivera argued for the prison term, Williams asked for a chance on probation after having already spent about 11 months in jail.
Williams had a rough upbringing but has matured to the point where he is ready to get his life back on track, said Deputy Public Defender Wendy Hudson.
Williams wants to pursue a music career and is a "very devoted father" to his two daughters, ages 4 and 1, she said.
After the sentencing, Hudson said the oral sex was consensual and occurred while the girl and Williams were playing a game of truth or dare. "No offense to the complainant, but I think there are other issues in her life, not just this," Hudson said.
In court, Williams said that in the past year, "I have taken more responsibility for my life."
"What happened a year ago . . . is at all times unacceptable," he said. "But being that this has happened, I have taken the time to rehabilitate myself."
After growing up in Louisiana, Williams had moved to Maui and gotten to know family members here, he said.
"I've never had many chances in my life at all," he said. "Today I'm a different person, and I hope I can prove that."
In sentencing Williams to the prison term, Cahill said it wasn't the first time the defendant had been before the court and had been given chances.
At the time of the offense, Williams was on probation for second-degree theft and had been given a chance to keep the conviction off his record before his probation was revoked.
While saying he believed Williams had made efforts to rehabilitate himself and his actions were aberrational "to some extent," Cahill said he didn't believe that Williams would ask for probation for a perpetrator if his daughters were the victims.
Cahill said a probation report prepared for the sentencing showed no factors to support withholding a prison term for Williams.
After the sentencing, Hudson said, "Both Andrew and his family are very disappointed. He's had a hard life, but I think he can rise above it."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.