LIHUE — An Anahola man convicted of felony sexual assaults against his finance’s child over a three year period was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court.
Matthew Lolena Samson, 31, was given consecutive terms of 10 years and five years in prison. It followed a May plea agreement to B and C felony sexual assault charges involving a minor under the age of 14.
“This is the only appropriate sentence,” said Judge Kathleen Watanabe. “This court needs to protect the victim from you, and it needs to protect the community from you.”
Samson was indicted on 13 charges of sexual assault on April 25, 2013. The assaults started when the girl was 6 years old in 2006, and continued throughout his live-in relationship with the girl’s mother until 2009.
Watanabe commended the victim, now 15, for attending the sentencing and choosing to speak to the court.
The girl held up the letter she was to going read but her tears got in the way.
County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin read the letter for the girl. It said how her life has changed from one of trusting and hugs that is Hawaiian culture, to one where she no longer likes to touch or be touched by anyone.
Arin said that in his pre-sentence interview, Samson’s replies show that he lacks insight on the effects of his actions on the victim and her family. He states that his relationship with the girl has not changed, and that his continuous sexual assaults were related to his drug use.
Arin said the girl was basically his sex toy for three years.
“This was not a compulsive act,” Arin said. “This was a lifestyle.”
The victim’s grandmother spoke at length in court, about how Samson was the fiancé to her daughter and that he was taken in as family. She had her suspicions after learning of Samson’s criminal record and began to notice her granddaughter was much more “timid and shy” than her normal outgoing self.
She asked the girl if Samson was doing anything with her that she didn’t like while driving her to school.
The reply prompted her to turn the car around and drive the girl to the hospital, she said.
The grandmother took custody of the girl. She was interviewed by child protective services, the police and the prosecuting attorney’s office as the case developed.
The mother of the girl said she will live in her personal prison for the rest of her life for not realizing what was happening to her daughter. She had no idea that her ex-fiancé was capable of such “evil.”
Watanabe told Samson that she hoped he heard the words of the victims. She said he needed to realize the extent of the damage done by him to the family.
“You are in no way a victim in this case,” Watanabe said. “Drug use does not excuse your actions in any way against the victim.”
State Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Sato, said the court had three options; to place Samson on felony probation with up to 18 months in jail, or to give him a concurrent — or a consecutive five and 10 year prison term on the two charges.
Sato said Samson has no prior convictions for a violent offense, and the priority is to get him into sex offender treatment. She argued for probation or the concurrent terms, adding that either would be adequate to complete required treatment.
Samson was sentenced to five years in state prison for unauthorized control of a vehicle in 2002. He was convicted in federal court of a felon in possession of a firearm in 2009. His federal supervised release was revoked after being caught viewing child pornography in his half way house residence, according to statements in court.
“We are pleased that the judge recognized the severity of this offense and handed down a sentence that will protect the community from this predator for a very substantial period of time,” stated County Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. “Our thoughts are with the survivor and the survivor’s ohana.”