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The Honolulu Advertiser

Update at 1:58 p.m., Thursday, May 18, 2006

Maui deacon pleads guilty in sex assault case

Advertiser Staff

WAILUKU, Maui — A deacon at a Catholic church on Maui pleaded guilty today to 62 sexual assault charges involving a boy who was 12 when the crimes first began.

James "Ron" Gonsalves, 69, of Wailuku, was well-known in the island's Catholic community and was administrator at St. Ann Church in Waihe'e when he was indicted in July.

He was accused of having sexual contact with the boy, including oral sex and attempted sodomy. The crimes occurred from June 2002 to June 2005 at Gonsalves' home and at the church.

He pleaded guilty to 30 counts of first-degree sexual assault, 30 counts of third-degree sexual assault and two counts of attempted first-degree sexual assault. The first-degree offenses are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. But under a plea agreement with county prosecutors, Gonsalves will ask for a year of jail, three years of home confinement and 20 years of probation when he is sentenced July 20.