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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 1, 2002

Sex assaults on child net 25-year sentence

By David Waite
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 24-year-old Waipahu man was sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison yesterday for repeatedly sexually assaulting his roommate's daughter over a two-year period ending in 2001 and videotaping some of the events.

City deputy prosecutor Trish Morikawa asked Circuit Judge Richard Perkins to give Shane "Shank" Fernandez an extended term of life in prison based on his guilty pleas in March to the 33 counts of sexual assault and the age of the victim, who was between 8 and 10 years old when the offenses took place.

Deputy public defender Tyrus Buyama, who represented Fernandez, described the sexual assaults as "terrible, terrible crimes," but he said Fernandez had no prior criminal record and was remorseful for his actions.

He said Fernandez took responsibility for his actions by "pleading out" in the case so that the girl and her older sister, who was also assaulted, would not have to testify about the events in court.

He urged Perkins to give Fernandez a maximum of 20 years in prison with the Hawaii Paroling Authority to set the minimum sentence.

Perkins declined to give Fernandez a life term, which he said is an option judges have in sentencing convicted felons who show little hope of rehabilitation. The judge said the prosecution presented no evidence to show Fernandez could not be rehabilitated.

It will be up to the Paroling Authority to decide how many years of the 25-year sentence Fernandez must serve before he is eligible for parole.