LIHUE — A government contractor from New Mexico pleaded not guilty on Monday to sexual assault charges.
Juan Vigil, 36, was indicted in April by a Fifth Circuit grand jury that found probable cause to charge him with two counts of first-degree sexual assault for an incident that allegedly occurred earlier that month.
Charging documents reveal few details about the allegations. The indictment states that on April 4, Vigil forcibly had sex with a female Kauai resident, whose identity is intentionally being withheld in this article.
Kauai County Prosecutor Justin Kollar said the charges against Vigil stem from two separate incidents that took place on the same day — one in Kekaha and one in Poipu — but declined to release any further details because the case is still pending trial.
Vigil was on the island temporarily, working for an independent company under a government contract at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, when the alleged incident occurred. He was arrested the next day and charged the following week, but when prosecutors dropped the charges two days later, Vigil returned to his home in New Mexico. The trip would turn out to be short-lived.
Prosecutors filed the sexual assault charges once again on April 18, this time based on a grand jury indictment. Vigil was picked up by police in Albuquerque on May 14, where he was kept in custody for about three weeks, according to his attorney Craig De Costa. A county spokesperson said he was extradited back to Kauai on June 7.
Vigil appeared before Fifth Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe Monday morning to plead not guilty to both counts. De Costa asked that his client’s bail be lowered from $100,000 to $5,000 and requested permission to allow Vigil to return to New Mexico, where he could wait for trial among his family and support system.
“I don’t think he has a criminal record of any kind,” De Costa told Watanabe, arguing that his client is not a flight risk. “He was working on the base. He had a clearance.”
Deputy county prosecutor Jared Brickey concurred, saying Vigil does not have any prior convictions, as far as he was able to determine, and declined to object to the bail reduction or the request to travel out of state. Watanabe was hesitant.
“This is a drastic reduction in bail,” she said, ordering a short recess to discuss the matter with police and the attorneys. “I do have concerns.”
Ultimately, Watanabe decided to cut the $100,000 bail in half. De Costa said Vigil posted a $5,000 cash bond following Monday’s hearing and was released. Vigil was also granted permission to fly back to New Mexico, signing a written agreement to return to Kauai the day before his trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 23.