HANAPEPE — A man accused of sexually assaulting a relative over a decade ago stood trial Tuesday.
Larry Cass Ragasa, 45, appeared before Judge Kathleen Watanabe in a Kauai County courtroom on two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and two counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree in connection to various incidents that began in 2001.
Sexual assault in the first degree is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Sexual assault in the fourth degree is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in the county jail.
The alleged victim, who was about 13 years old at the time, was the first witness to testify Tuesday. The first incident occurred at a home in Hanapepe after the two of them were arguing over the remote, she said.
“When he came in the room to get the remote, I hid it. I was a kid — I thought it was funny,” she said. “He tried to get it from me, and I tried to keep it away from him, and then he exposed himself.”
The Garden Island doesn’t publish the names of alleged victims in sexual assault cases.
That incident was the start of several occurrences over the next eight years, she said.
The incidents ranged from inappropriate touching to sexual intercourse, said Jennifer Winn, first deputy prosecuting attorney.
The alleged victim said she never told anyone anyone about the ongoing abuse because she thought it would hurt her family if they knew what happened.
“He told me talking about it meant bad things,” she said. “He implied everyone would be hurt, and my family would be destroyed.”
During opening statements, Winn told the jury the alleged victim didn’t know what to do after the assaults started.
“So she did nothing,” Winn said.
She eventually told police in 2010 after he exposed himself to her while she was doing homework.
“I felt like he was never going to stop, and was worried he was going to do it to someone else,” she said. “He had a young daughter at the time, and I thought I was protecting her.”
Ragasa was arrested on Oct. 19, 2010, and charged with four counts of sexual assault.
On Tuesday, Ragasa was out of jail on bail, said Justin Kollar, prosecuting attorney.
Ragasa’s lawyer, Craig De Costa, said his client and the alleged victim were having an affair.
“There’s no evidence of the time period, and there’s insufficient evidence to prove her age when the acts occurred,” he said. “When he exposed herself, the evidence shows she wasn’t alarmed, nor did she fear bodily injury. And when she didn’t want to engage in behavior, he would stop.”
The phrases, “I think,” “Maybe,” and “I can’t recall,” were used by the alleged victim when she relaying the time frame to the police, De Costa added.
“The only sure thing about the timing was that it started after the remote incident,” he said.
The trial is expected to wrap up by Friday.