Sex attack suspect indicted
By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer
Mental patient Joseph K. Navas was indicted yesterday on charges including sexual assault, kidnapping and burglary related to last week's attack on a Mililani restaurant owner.
Navas, 44, has been committed to the Hawai'i State Hospital at least eight times for treatment of schizophrenia and was last released from the facility sometime after Feb. 11, 2009, according to court records.
He has 83 prior arrests and 33 convictions for felonies including promoting dangerous drugs and auto theft, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Victoria Kapp said.
Navas allegedly entered a Kīpapa Drive restaurant after it was closed last Thursday night, grabbed the owner and assaulted her over a period of some two hours.
"He committed numerous sexual offenses against her," Kapp said.
After the victim escaped and called police, Navas was found partially clothed inside the restaurant and identified himself by various names, including "Roger Moore 007, George Ariyoshi, Jacques Cousteau, Bruce Lee and other famous people," according to arresting officer Roel Gapusan.
Navas is being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
He was charged with four counts of first-degree sex assault, three counts of third-degree sex assault, one count of kidnapping and one count each of second-degree robbery and burglary.
Navas was last arrested on a burglary charge in 2006 and treated at the State Hospital until 2009 while his mental fitness to stand trial was assessed.
In late 2008, Circuit Judge Michael Wilson ordered the burglary charge dismissed and said he would civilly commit Navas to the hospital for further treatment.
That dismissal and commitment order was opposed by city prosecutors but was finalized by Wilson on Feb. 11, 2009.
Janice Okubo of the state Health Department said state officials are prevented by medical confidentiality laws from discussing when or why Navas was later released from the hospital.
Mental health experts who examined Navas in late 2008 gave different opinions about how much risk Navas would pose to the public if he was released from the hospital, court records show.
One pegged the risk at "moderate to high" while two others said "low to moderate" if appropriate steps were taken to monitor and control his mental-health treatment after leaving the hospital.