By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 31-year-old Hilo man has pleaded no contest to charges stemming from two “peeping Tom” incidents in late 2011.
Paul Waathmad had been scheduled for a trial on Monday on charges of second-degree violation of privacy and second-degree unauthorized entry to a dwelling.
Late last month, prosecutors reduced the unauthorized entry charge, which is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment, to second-degree violation of privacy, a misdemeanor.
Waathmad’s plea on Monday means there will be no trial. He could face up to a year in jail on the privacy charges when he is sentenced on June 14 at 8 a.m. by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.
“We agreed that any sentence would be concurrent between the two charges,” Deputy Prosecutor Lucas Burns said afterwards. He said that both the prosecution and defense are free to argue for any legal sentence.
Waathmad’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Belinda Castillo Hall, told the court that Waathmad entered the no contest plea “for civil liability purposes.”
Both incidents took place at the Hilo Tropical Gardens Hostel in Keaukaha and both victims were guests at the establishment. The first victim was a 27-year-old woman, the second, a 57-year-old woman, according to police.
Asked by the judge what the state would prove if the case went to trial, Deputy Prosecutor Jefferson Malate, who appeared for Burns, replied: “The first offense occurred … on Nov. 6, 2011. The defendant peeped into the complainant’s window while she was in a state of undress, without her permission or the permission of the hostel.
“… Also on Nov. 13, 2011, the defendant came onto the property of the same hostel, went into the guest house and … pulled back the shower curtain and observed the victim nude as she was taking a shower, without her permission or the permission of the hostel.”
Trish Owens, who owns the hostel with her brother, David, told the Tribune-Herald last year that she has installed security cameras on the property since the incidents. At that time, she described Waathmad as “a creepy little man” who “came onto the property and peeked in.”
Waathmad, who appeared in court with a Yapese interpreter, has asked the court to defer acceptance of his no contest plea. If the court agrees, his conviction on the violation of privacy charges would be erased from Waathmad’s criminal record if he stays out of trouble with the law until his sentence is completed.
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.