LIHUE — A Kapaa man accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl reached a deal with prosecutors last week, just days before his trial was set to begin.
Christopher Suard Jr., 29, pleaded no contest Thursday in Kauai’s Fifth Circuit Court to second-degree sexual assault, as a condition of a plea bargain allowing him to avoid facing the five charges he was indicted on in 2017, including three more severe counts of first-degree sexual assault.
In exchange for the no contest plea, prosecutors will be recommending Suard receive an 18-month prison sentence, along with probation and a lifetime sex offender registration, according to Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar. Suard is scheduled to appear on May 2 for sentencing.
Suard had rejected the prosecution’s offer earlier this year, opting instead to go to trial. But he pleaded no contest a week after the court ruled that a confession Suard made to his pastor about the alleged molestation would be admissible in court.
According to the transcript of a phone call, a Kauai police detective made to Bob Hallman, a pastor at Crossroads Christian Fellowship church in Kapaa, Hallman said that during one in a series of counseling sessions with the Suard family, the man admitted to carrying on a sexual relationship with the girl over a six-week period beginning in October 2014.
In a memorandum submitted to the court, prosecutors requested Hallman’s testimony be admissible as evidence.
During the counseling session, Suard “was not seeking Bob Hallman’s counsel as a ‘spiritual advisor’ when he read his written statement,” the prosecution’s memo said. “The defendant was not repentant when he read his statement, but instead was hoping to hurt and shock the participants in the meeting, which he did accomplish.”
The victim is now living with family friends in California, and Suard has been ordered not to have any contact with her.