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Man pleads no contest to sexual assault

LIHUE — A Kauai man facing 12 counts of sexual assault pleaded no contest to three counts on Wednesday.

Charles Franklin Soto III was arrested Feb. 25 for abusing two minor children between Aug. 1, 2014, and Feb. 20. One victim was around 15 years old at the time while the other was under the age of 14. He pleaded to two counts of first degree sexual assault and to one count of third-degree sexual assault.

Soto, living in Kapaa at the time of his arrest, will be sentenced by 5th Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe July 15.

Because Soto was under the age of 22 at the time of the crime and had no prior felony adult or juvenile offenses, he will be considered a youthful offender as part of the plea agreement, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Arin said.

Each count of first-degree sexual abuse carried up to 20 years in prison. Under youthful offender guidelines, each count carries eight years. For third-degree sexual assault, each count carries five years whereas under youthful offender terms, each count tops out at four years.

Arin said the agreement states the sentences run concurrently, so Soto will likely be incarcerated for eight years.

She declined to comment on the agreement but said more information on the case will be shared during sentencing. Defense attorney Mark Zenger didn’t return a message Wednesday.

Soto is being held at Kauai Community Correctional Center. Bail is $140,000.


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