The man accused of sexually abusing two children for more than a third of their lives was sentenced yesterday to 40 years in prison by Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe.
Arthur Vinhaca, 41, of Kapa‘a, was convicted of first-degree sexual assault, first-degree attempted sexual assault, eight counts of third-degree sexual assault and one count of second-degree sexual assault, after jurors found him guilty of the crimes on Feb. 8.
Vinhaca could have served as many as 85 years for what the state presented as habitual sexual assault against the two children — ongoing abuse that began when they were aged 11 and 13.
Within the charges against Vinhaca were two Class A felonies, that each carried possible sentences of 20 years, First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Winn said.
Vinhaca was also convicted of nine Class C felonies, each bearing a possible five-year sentence.
“I think the factors in the case warranted a severe punishment,” Winn said.
The sentencing handed down by Watanabe mirrored what the state requested, she added.
“In this case, he will serve one 20-year sentence that will run consecutively to four, five-year sentences,” Winn said. “The sentence basically gave him 20 years for each child.”
Winn, who began building the case by watching a videotape of the two children being interviewed by law enforcement at the Children’s Justice Center — routine so victims don’t have to relive their pain excessively — said in circumstances such as these, officials try to avoid any additional trauma to the victims.
It was the victims’ trauma Winn had in mind when asking for the 40-year sentence, based primarily on the immense emotional, psychological, and physical injuries suffered by the victims, she said.
Vinhaca has a lengthy criminal history, with multiple previous convictions including second-degree theft, un-sworn falsification, driving under the influence, second-degree burglary, third-degree theft and third-degree assault.
Vinhaca had been on probation for the second-degree theft charge when he committed the crimes against the two children. Watanabe revoked his probation as part of his sentencing.
According to the National Institute of Justice, sexual abusers who target minors include those deemed “regressed offenders,” who are attracted to others their own age but also are attracted to children, and “fixated offenders,” usually adult pedophiles who are maladaptive to social norms.
• Amanda C. Gregg, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or firstname.lastname@example.org.