By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
A 24-year-old Puna man who prosecutors say raped a stranded woman driver after picking her up hitchhiking almost three years ago was sentenced Friday to six months in jail.
John Tak pleaded no contest in February to kidnapping and second-degree theft. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped two first-degree sex assault charges against him. Tak was also sentenced to five years probation and the clock was re-started on his five-year probation sentence in a previous credit card fraud case.
The kidnapping charge carried a possible 10-year prison term, while second-degree theft is punishable by up to five years in prison. First-degree sex assault carries a possible 20-year prison sentence.
Tak, who is an auto mechanics student at Hawaii Community College with a year left before graduation, will be allowed to serve his jail time intermittently to allow him to finish his schooling, according to court records.
At his change-of-plea hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Jason Skier described the incident, which took place on Aug. 4, 2010.
“The victim’s vehicle was giving her problems; she was stuck on the side of the highway on Highway 11 attempting to hitchhike,” Skier said. “A male party, who turned out to be the defendant in a red vehicle, pulled over (and) offered to give her a ride. While on Road E, defendant forced the victim into the back of the vehicle, would not allow her to leave the vehicle, and had non-consensual sex with her. When defendant was done, he pushed her out of the car without pieces of her clothing (and) left her on the side of the road. Defendant took her purse and her cellphone and later discarded some of those items. Bystanders found the victim in a frightened state on the side of the road.”
Police arrested Tak more than a year after the incident, and police Capt. Randall Medeiros, then-commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, told the Tribune-Herald in August 2011 that DNA evidence taken from the victim was sent to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS.
A 2008 state law provides that anyone who is convicted of a felony, who pleads guilty or no contest to a felony, or who is found not guilty by reason of insanity must submit a DNA sample to law enforcement authorities.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.