LIHUE — A Waimea man was sentenced to five years in prison as a youthful offender for sexual assaults against his 10-year-old niece.
Chance M P Taala, 20, was sentenced for a second-degree sexual assault, and four years concurrent for a third-degree sexual assault. The crimes occurred two years ago.
Chief Judge Randal Valenciano said that Taala preyed on his own family, and in particular someone young and vulnerable.
“A jail term is appropriate to protect the community and your own family from you,” Valenciano said.
Taala allegedly made sexual advances at night against the girl, according to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin in court. She resisted but the advances continued until the victim told a friend at school and Taala was arrested on Jan. 31. 2011.
“I am sorry to everybody, especially my family for betraying their trust,” Taala said in court.
Taala added not a day goes by he doesn’t think about what he did, and he would likely think about it daily for the rest of his life.
Taala changed his plea to no contest on July 16. The plea deal reduced a first-degree sexual assault charge to a B-felony that would carry a possible 10-year prison term, and charged him with one additional count of third-degree sex assault, a C-felony with a possible five-year term.
Private attorney Michael Soong said Taala has been in custody for over 600 days. During this time he has earned a leadership role on the warden’s Life Time Stand program at Kauai Community Correctional Center.
Soong requested youth offender sentencing. Taala had just turned 18 years old 45 days prior to his arrest on these charges.
Taala has the support of his family and KCCC added sex offender treatment services that helped keep Taala on Kauai and not have to be sent to Halawa Correctional Facility at such a young age, he added.
Arin said it was imperative the defendant complete sexual offender treatment while he is still incarcerated.
“The defendant’s statement that he doesn’t know why he did it after having almost two years in jail to reflect on his actions shows he either has little insight or he is not being honest with the court or himself,” Arin said in court. “The term of imprisonment of five years is essential for the safety of the community and for the rehabilitation of the defendant.”
The victim is no longer on Kauai and attending school off-island.