Man charged with 21 counts of first-degree sexual assault

Judge reduces bail from $500,000 to $150,000

The Maui News

WAILUKU — A Wailuku man was arrested last week on charges alleging he repeatedly sexually assaulted a girl.

Brandon Gonzaga, 45, is charged with 21 counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault in an indictment returned Dec. 18 by a Maui County grand jury. The indictment alleges the crimes occurred from January 2018 to August 2019.

Gonzaga has pleaded not guilty to the charges, said his attorney, William Harrison.

Because he is in quarantine at the Maui Community Correctional Center, Gonzaga wasn’t transported to 2nd Circuit Court on Tuesday. A Jan. 21 court date was set for him.

Harrison, who appeared by videoconference for the hearing Tuesday, asked for Gonzaga to be released from jail with conditions or to have his bail reduced from $500,000 to a reasonable amount.

Gonzaga has a job and residence and no prior criminal history, Harrison said.

“The bail study clearly shows he’s not a threat to the community,” Harrison said.

Deputy Prosecutor J.W. Hupp said the high bail was set to reflect the seriousness of the charges. Gonzaga is charged with “repeatedly sexually assaulting a child under 12 years old over a period of well over a year,” Hupp said.

Speaking in court, the victim’s father said he didn’t think Gonzaga should be let out of jail. “I don’t think it’s right,” the father said.

Harrison said he and Gonzaga have known about the charges for over a year.

“The bottom line is my client’s innocent until proven guilty,” Harrison said. “I have clients charged with murder who have less bail. This court can fashion conditions that will address any concerns.”

Second Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said an amount of bail was appropriate “given the seriousness of the charges.”

He reduced Gonzaga’s bail to $150,000.

Gonzaga was ordered to have no contact with the victim and her family members and to have no contact with minors under age 18 unless they’re his children or grandchildren.


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