Second defendant charged in child sex and pornography case

LIHUE — A former Hanamaulu man accused of being an accomplice to first-degree sexual assault and to first-degree promoting child abuse was given a trial date on Monday in 5th Circuit Court.

Richard Abella Riopta, 42, was indicted on Oct. 9 and was arraigned on Oct. 21, but had appeared without legal representation. On Monday, he appeared with private attorney Michael Green.

Riopta is accused of promoting or facilitating first-degree sexual assault by Jean Agonoy Palercio, which occurred between May 1, 2009, and Oct. 23, 2011. Palercio, 33, of Kapaa, pleaded no contest to videotaping her sexual acts with a child under age 14, and was sentenced to concurrent 20-year prison terms by Judge Kathleen Watanabe on April 17.

Riopta is also charged with knowingly participating in the preparation of child pornography that employs, uses or contains a minor engaging in sexual conduct.

County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin is handling the case for the state.

Riopta is reportedly residing in Maui and was released on $250,000 bail. His trial date was set for Feb. 2.

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