No contest plea in sex assault case

LIHUE — A Lihue man pleaded no contest on two charges of second- and third-degree sexual assault on Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Kalaniaiaeaponoleihoo-wehi Matthews, 25, appeared in court with several family members present. Following his arrest on Jan. 3, 2013, he was released from custody on $50,000 bail while awaiting trial in the case.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the offense occurred on Sept. 30, 2012, when Matthews stayed overnight at the home of a 20-year-old cousin. During the night, Matthews allegedly used compulsion to subject the female victim to sexual penetration.

“The defendant is a cousin who was regarded as a brother by the victim,” Mendes said.

State Deputy Public Defender Samuel Jajich objected to the use of “strong compulsion” as it expressed a different legal definition and had been previously amended to “compulsion” in the plea agreement.

Matthews pleaded to C felony third-degree sexual assault as charged in the indictment. His initial A felony first-degree sexual assault charge was amended to a B felony second-degree charge in the agreement.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano scheduled sentencing for Oct. 23.

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