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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Man faces charges in girl's rape

By Ken Kobayashi
Advertiser Courts Writer

A 39-year-old man appeared for his first court hearing yesterday on charges of kidnapping and raping an 8-year-old girl in Wai'anae last week.

Lawyer Marcus Landsberg, right, said it was "racist" for the news media to show his client Yomeo Eieta in shackles.

Bruce Asato • The Honolulu Advertiser

Yomeo Eieta, his feet shackled, said nothing during the court appearance that lasted less than two minutes before Ho-nolulu District Judge Leslie Hayashi.

But his lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Marcus Landsberg, objected to news cameras at the hearing. "I think it's racist to show a Micronesian man in chains on the evening news, but they don't show any pictures of good Micronesians doing good work," he said.

Hayashi overruled that objection. News cameras have been permitted in state courtrooms for more than 20 years.

The allegations of rape stunned and angered Wai'anae residents.

Eieta is accused of approaching the girl Thursday night outside the Wai'anae Neighborhood Community Center, grabbing her arm and leading her to a nearby vacant lot. He is accused of taking her into the brush and assaulting her, police said.

Eieta was arrested about 8:30 Saturday night.

A native of Chuuk (Federated States of Micronesia), Eieta is being held on $150,000 bail. His sister, Asa Rebwak, said this week that her brother came from Chuuk several years ago, but is homeless and has been staying with her in Wai'anae. Eieta is unemployed.

A court-appointed Chuukese interpreter, Yosani Esa, was with Eieta during yesterday's hearing.

The judge confirmed Eieta's bail of $150,000 and scheduled a hearing tomorrow to determine if he should face trial. Eieta is charged with four counts of first-degree sex assault, one count of third-degree sex assault and kidnapping. A conviction for first-degree sex assault carries a mandatory 20-year maximum prison term.

City prosecutors, however, could seek an indictment before the O'ahu grand jury that would also send the case to trial and cancel the tomorrow hearing, sparing the girl from having to testify at the public proceeding. Grand jury sessions are confidential.

Reach Ken Kobayashi at 525-8030 or kkobayashi@honoluluadvertiser.com.