20 years for child sex assault

LIHUE — A new state law making a 20-year prison sentence mandatory for first-degree sexual assault of a child was handed down for the first time Thursday in 5th Circuit Court.

Joseph Kalani Contrades, 38, of Kapaa, was ordered to serve the 20 years for the continual sexual assault of a girl. Contrades was also familiar with the victim. Under the new law, Contrades may not be released, paroled, or allowed any term of suspended sentence during the period of mandatory minimum prison.

Chief Judge Randal Valenciano said judges have no discretion in these cases. A revised sentencing law passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie June 14 requires state courts to order the 20-year minimum sentence for convictions of first-degree sexual assault against children.

Valenciano said that what Contrades did on multiple occasions “was really unfortunate,” not only for himself and the victim, but for a community.

“There are so many ramifications,” Valenciano said.

Contrades was arrested Feb. 25 on a charge of first-degree sexual assault. His case went to Family Court on March 3, and was committed to Circuit Court with a waiver of preliminary hearing on March 6.

The criminal complaint charged Contrades with continuous sexual assault of a minor, seven counts of first-degree sexual assault, four counts of third-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, terroristic threat and kidnapping.

Contrades pleaded no contest to three A felony charges, including continuous sexual assault of a minor and two counts of first-degree sexual assault on May 5. 

In addition to the mandatory minimum, the charges could have brought a life sentence with the possibility of parole.

Contrades remained incarcerated on $500,000 bail throughout the six months of proceedings. 

Had the case gone to trial, the state would have sought an extended sentence with a conviction of multiple felony charges.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Melinda Mendes said the victim lived in fear of being alone with Contrades. 

“She was lonely, isolated” and victim to acts of “forcible rape,” Mendes added

State Deputy Public Defender John Calma described Contrades as a talented musician with a methamphetamine addiction. He said the defendant was as “high as a kite” when arrested and said he does not recall committing the offenses.

Contrades was a victim of child sexual abuse and didn’t share it with anyone until his arrest on these charges, Calma added. He is in counseling at Kauai County Correctional Center, where he mentors youth and leads a Bible study group.

“Although nothing can undo the trauma this predator inflicted on the child he victimized, we are satisfied that he will be spending a lengthy period of time in prison,” said County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. 

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