LIHUE — A Kapaa man was sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay over $2,000 in fines and restitution for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
Christopher Suard Jr., 29, was indicted in 2017 and initially faced five felony counts, three of which carried potential life sentences. He pleaded no contest in January to a single count of second-degree sexual assault, allowing him to avoid facing the more serious charges.
Suard may have been afforded some degree of leniancy due to his upbringing and the conditions inside the home he was raised in, which he described at Thursday’s hearing as “a house of horrors.”
Fifth Circuit Court Chief Judge Randal Valenciano called the incident “a bad situation compounded by bad circumstances,” and admitted that Suard’s home life was “horrendous,” but said it still does not excuse the criminal acts he committed.
Suard had previously rejected the plea deal offered to him by prosecutors in January, opting instead to go to trial, but changed his mind a week after Valenciano ruled to admit into evidence a confession Suard made to his pastor about the molestation.
According to a transcript of a phone conversation between a Kauai police detective and Bob Hallman, pastor at Crossroads Christian Fellowship church in Kapaa, Hallman said that during a counseling session, Suard admitted to carrying on a sexual relationship with the teenage girl. Prosecutors successfully argued that Hallman’s testimony should be admissible as evidence because Suard “was not seeking Bob Hallman’s counsel as a ‘spiritual advisor,’” when he read a written statement confessing to the inappropriate sexual relationship during the counseling session in front of his parents and pastor.