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Men indicted in sex assaults

By JOHN BURNETT

Tribune-Herald staff writer

A Kona grand jury on Aug. 13 indicted two men on separate sex assault charges.

Chance Vince Letreta, 34, of Kailua-Kona was charged with continuous sexual assault of a minor. The indictment said that Letreta “did intentionally, knowingly, and/or recklessly engage” in three or more acts of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a girl under 14 between 2008 and 2009.

A bench warrant set bail at $50,000. Letreta is currently incarcerated at Halawa Correctional Facility on Oahu.

According to court records, Letreta has 15 prior convictions, including felony convictions for domestic abuse, auto theft, promoting a dangerous drug and bail jumping, but is not a registered sex offender.

Continuous sexual assault of a minor is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.

An unrelated indictment charges 31-year-old Phil James of Ocean View with kidnapping and first- and second-degree sexual assault. Court records indicate that the alleged victim is an adult woman.

A bench warrant set his bail at $50,000, and James was arrested on Wednesday.

At a hearing on Wednesday before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara, Deputy Public Defender Belinda Castillo-Hall told the court that James would require a Marshallese language interpreter, according to court records.

Deputy Prosecutor Darien Nagata told the court that James has an arraignment and plea scheduled for Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. before Kona Circuit Judge Elizabeth Strance.

Hara maintained James’ bail and ordered him to appear for the Kona court date. He also ordered that James stay away from the alleged victim.

James remains in custody at HCCC in lieu of bail.

Kidnapping is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment. Second-degree sexual assault is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years incarceration and third-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

According to court records, James has seven prior convictions, but none for felonies, and is not a registered sex offender.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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