Editor’s note: This story contains graphic content.
Prosecutors have dropped charges against a registered sex offender accused of abducting an underage girl at knifepoint in downtown Hilo, taking her to his apartment and forcing her to perform a sex act.
Court records indicate that a motion to dismiss charges against 54-year-old Lawrence “Larry” Abiley was filed Tuesday in Hilo Circuit Court by Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Kagawa.
“We have some new evidence that came in. Sometimes, doing justice … requires that charges be dropped,” County Prosecutor Mitch Roth said Friday.
The dismissal is without prejudice, which means charges can be refiled.
The state Department of Public Safety website indicates Abiley was released Tuesday from Hawaii Community Correctional Center.
Abiley pleaded not guilty Feb. 18 to kidnapping, first-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree sexual assault. He was scheduled to stand trial June 9 before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara. He had been bound over to Circuit Court by Hilo District Judge Diana Van De Car, who ruled after a two-day preliminary hearing Feb. 5-6 that probable cause existed to support the charges.
At the prelim, the alleged victim, a 17-year-old girl, testified she met Abiley in the early morning of Feb. 1 by the Kress Cinemas. She said after she refused to go to his apartment, he pulled out a red-handled knife.
The girl said the knife point was in contact with her back as Abiley escorted her on foot to a studio apartment on Haili Street near McDonald’s. She said she sat on the bed as Abiley stood over her with the knife at her neck and took off his pants. She said she and Abiley were alone except for a cat, and Abiley ordered her to touch his privates.
The teen said when Abiley was finished, he wiped himself with something red and took a shower, allowing her to escape.
During cross examination, Deputy Public Defender Michael Ebesugawa questioned why the girl didn’t scream when allegedly accosted at knifepoint. He also noted the locked gate of the apartment complex where Abiley lived and questioned whether Abiley could unlock and open the gate with his left hand with the girl in front of him as he held a knife to her back with his right hand, as she had testified earlier.
Police Detective Fetuutuunai Amuimuia testified the girl identified Abiley from a photographic lineup. He said he and Detective Dean Uyetake executed a search warrant on Abiley’s studio apartment and found a red shirt with white stains, but not a knife.
Amuimuia testified Abiley denied having a knife or threatening the girl, with or without one, and also denied abducting the girl. The detective said Abiley told him there was a sexual incident but it was consensual.
According to court records, Abiley was convicted in 1988 of four counts of first-degree sexual assault, plus attempted rape and burglary. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was also convicted in 2009 and 2010 for failing to register as a sex offender and sentenced each time to a year in jail. He is currently on probation. Abiley faced a possible 20 years in prison on the kidnapping charge. The other offenses are punishable by up to five years imprisonment.
Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaii tribune-herald.com.