Man convicted of sexual assault seeks new trial

LIHUE — A man convicted of sexually assaulting a relative more than a decade ago is trying to get a new trial.

Larry Cass Ragasa, 45, asked Fifth Circuit Court Judge Kathleen Watanabe Tuesday if he and his attorney could have some more time to prepare for an April 19 hearing to present arguments on why he deserves a new trial.

He is out on $10,100 bail and awaiting sentencing for his March 11 conviction.

Ragasa was convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual assault and one count of sexual assault in the fourth degree for crimes he committed, which began in 2001, against a girl who was between 14 and 16 years old, according to an Oct. 13, 2010 indictment. The acts continued for eight years. Ragasa was arrested in 2010.

Sexual assault in the first degree is a class A felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, while fourth-degree sexual assault is punishable by one year in the county jail.

Defense attorney Craig De Costa told the court Tuesday he had recently happened upon new evidence and a new witness, but would need additional time to prepare with his client prior to a hearing.

In his motion, Ragasa argued that the dates the victim claims the sexual assaults took place are incorrect and that she was already 16 at the time of the incidents, stating that “no penetration occurred prior to complaining witness turning 16.”

A first incident, known as the “remote incident,” could not have occurred when the victim was 13 years old and could not have happened in the Hanapepe home where she said it happened, according to Ragasa’s motion.

Ragasa is scheduled to be sentenced June 1.

An oral motion by the state to revoke his bail was denied Tuesday by the court. First deputy prosecuting attorney Jennifer Winn said she would file a written motion.

••• Michelle Iracheta, cops and courts reporter, can be reached at 245-0424.

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