Repeat sex offender accused of assaulting minor

LIHU‘E — A repeat sex offender was indicted in Fifth Circuit Court for sexually assaulting a minor on several occasions.

Joseph Costa Rita Sr., age 71, was indicted Sept. 14 for continual sexual assault of a minor and four additional counts of third-degree sexual assault of a minor. He was being held at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center on $100,000 bail while awaiting trial.

The crimes allegedly occurred between June 1 and Aug. 14. Rita is accused of engaging in three or more acts of sexual penetration and sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl. The third-degree charges are for having sexual contact with the minor to include breasts and posterior on three separate occasions.

The State of Hawai‘i Sex Offender Registry updated Rita’s listing this month. This is Rita’s third sex-related crime case, according to information on the Registry’s website.

The Registry notes that Rita has a 1996 conviction for second-degree sexual assault and lost an appeal on the 10-year sentence. He was also convicted of incest in 1996 and was sentenced to five years.

The 2009 Kaua‘i Police Department Annual Report notes there were 138 reported sexual offenses and that 123 were listed as rape.

• Tom LaVenture, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or by emailing tlaventure@ thegardenisland.com.

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