Hawai’i Prosecuting Attorney Jay Kimura announced today that on August 26, 2010 a Kona jury convicted Faustino Transﬁguracion of felony sexual assaults against ﬁve children. The sexual assaults spanned nearly a decade. The children, who were between the ages of 5 and 14 when they were assaulted, ranged in age from 9 to 18 when they testiﬁed at trial.
The jury returned guilty verdicts on the ﬁve charges after a ﬁve week trial in the courtroom of Judge Elizabeth Stance. The jury found the defendant guilty of continuous sexual assault against two of the children. In order to prove the continuous sexual assault, the State presented evidence that the defendant had touched the intimate areas of each child, who were in his care as a trusted adult and were under the age of 14, more than 3 times. The two children had difﬁculty dating the earliest abuses, testifying that sexual abuse was simply something they “grew up with.”
The jury also found that the defendant had sexually assaulted three other children under the age of 14, each a single time. The jury returned three verdicts of guilty of Third Degree Sexual Assault concerning those three children.
Five children, cousins from 3 separate families, testiﬁed at trial that the defendant had molested them, as both the defendant and his wife cared for the children while their parents worked. Parents testiﬁed that the defendant and his wife had been caring for the children for more than a decade. The children testiﬁed that the defendant had abused them when they were alone, when they were in the presence of other children, and even at family gatherings, when their parents were in other rooms. One child testiﬁed that he was molested in his own home at such a gathering.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joyce Seelen called Dr. Alex Bivens, a Hawaii expert on the dynamics of the sexual abuse of children. Dr. Bivens described research that is counterintuitive to common misconceptions concerning the sexual abuse of children. He testiﬁed that most children who are molested know the abuser. He also testiﬁed that most victims of childhood sexual abuse tell no one before adulthood, which makes delayed disclosure of childhood sexual abuse, the norm. He cited the research which shows that children keep the secret of abuse, particularly when the abuser is someone in a position of trust, for many reasons: The children expect to be blamed; they are embarrassed; and they expect not to be believed.
Dr. Bivens also cited research that shows that most abusers molest with another child present; that many molest with a non-collaborating adult present; that most molest in their own homes and that many molest in the homes of the children. Seelen argued to the jury that, by molesting a child in his own home, the defendant robbed the child of any sense of safety.
Attorney Brian DeLima represented Faustino Transﬁguracion at trial.