WAILUKU - A man who said he "misused" his position of trust was sentenced Friday to a 10-year prison term for repeatedly sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was a student at the school where he worked.
More than a dozen people were in the courtroom gallery, and many wrote letters for Victor P. Reyes, 34, of Kahului.
"Many of the supporters believe that he has suffered enough and that he has been punished enough, that he doesn't deserve any more punishment," said 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen.
He said those people may not have known "exactly what he has done and the number of times he has done it."
"He showed a great deal of sophistication and planning as he groomed this young lady and as he wooed her, as he videotaped and photographed her - of course, never believing this day would come," Bissen said.
Reyes had pleaded no contest to nine reduced counts of second-degree sexual assault and 10 counts of third-degree sexual assault. According to court records, the sexual assaults occurred from March to December 2011.
At the time, the girl was 14 and 15 years old and attended Hui Malama Learning Center in Wailuku, where Reyes was a staff member, said First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera.
He said not only was Reyes in a position of trust, he was entrusted with students who had learning disabilities and couldn't function in a regular school setting.
Rivera said the girl's father wanted the court to know that although his daughter may look like any other youth her age, "her maturity level, her IQ, her ability to comprehend and discern things is that of a child."
Referring to dozens of supporters, including well-respected community leaders, who wrote letters for Reyes, Rivera said, "there are certain things about the defendant that they don't know."
"There are certain things about the defendant that probably his parents don't even know," Rivera said. "The main thing is he is capable, and has demonstrated by this case he is capable, of being a predator."
Only the girl's father wrote to the court on her behalf, Rivera said. "I think this just points out how the victims of these crimes feel," he said. "It just shows the isolation of these victims."
Rivera said the girl's father also was concerned that videotapes and photographs Reyes took showing the girl would surface on the Internet. None of those were recovered when police executed search warrants, Rivera said.
Defense attorney William Sloper said "there will be no pictures or videos released ever to the Internet."
He said he had advised Reyes not to talk about the matter "because of the possible federal prosecution regarding that type of allegation."
Sloper said Reyes' remorse was genuine.
Reyes voluntarily appeared in court after learning there was an indictment for his arrest, Sloper said. He said Reyes didn't ask to have his $750,000 bail reduced and has been incarcerated for nearly eight months.
"He did not think being released from jail was the right thing to do because he knew he did something terribly wrong," Sloper said.
Reyes has already registered as a sex offender, he said.
Reyes apologized to the girl and her family, who weren't in court Friday.
"I caused them an unfathomable amount of pain and sorrow," Reyes said. "I misused my trust, my responsibility that was placed upon me. I showed a lack of respect and an inability to make the right choice for the well-being of (the girl).
"I should have known better."
Bissen said one incident that stood out among Reyes' actions was how he persuaded another student to pose as him and pretend to be the girl's boyfriend to meet her parents "to make her family think she was dating someone her age."
The judge also cited "the repetitive nature, the fact that you were willing to pay for the hotel rooms for the several occasions that you chose to do that, the fact that you introduced alcohol to this young lady."
"You knew exactly what you were doing," Bissen told Reyes.
Many people go through breakups and divorces, Bissen said, "but not many turn to victimizing . . . a young unsuspecting minor."
"This was no accident or one-time thing," Bissen said. "The events occurred, by her estimation, 100 times."
Bissen followed a plea agreement between the defense and the prosecution in sentencing Reyes to the 10-year prison term. He was ordered to pay $2,925 in restitution.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.