Trial set for alleged child molester

  • MICHAEL BRESTOVANSKY Tribune-Herald David K. Willett, left, appears Monday in Hilo Circuit Court with attorney Stanton Oshiro.

A 31-year-old Hilo man accused of sexually assaulting a young boy nearly a decade ago was apprehended Friday.

David K. Willett appeared Monday in Hilo Circuit Court for a bail hearing after being apprehended Friday evening on 41 counts of sexual assault.

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A grand jury charged Willett in May 2017 with continuous sexual assault of a minor younger than the age of 14, 19 counts of first-degree sexual assault and 21 counts of third-degree sexual assault. At that time, a bench warrant was issued for Willett’s arrest, and his bail was set at $400,000.

Since then, Willett apparently evaded capture until Friday, when police apprehended him at the Puainako Town Center in Hilo.

Willett is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a young boy between Aug. 1 and Dec. 5, 2008. Willett reportedly had recurring access to the alleged victim and “did intentionally, knowingly or recklessly engage in three or more acts of sexual penetration or sexual contact with” the child.

During his bail hearing, Willett pleaded not guilty to all 41 charges. Judge Henry Nakamoto set Willett’s trial to begin June 12.

Willett’s attorney, Stanton Oshiro, motioned to have Willett’s bail reduced, but Nakamoto denied the motion, citing the severity of Willett’s charges and the length of time before he was apprehended. Willett’s bail remains at $400,000, with conditions that he have no contact with minors, or any contact with his alleged victim or the victim’s family, either directly or indirectly.

In addition to his 41 sexual assault charges, Willett also was charged with one count of violating his probation from a previous domestic abuse conviction. His bail on that charge was set at $5,000.

Willett also pleaded no contest Monday to a charge of contempt of court.

Because Willett could be sentenced for two or more felonies, he is subject to an extended term of imprisonment — namely, life imprisonment with the possibility of parole — “for the protection of the public,” according to the 2017 indictment.

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However, if Willett were to be found guilty of all charges, the combined maximum penalty for his charges — 20 of which are Class A felonies, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, while the remainder carry a maximum of five years — would equal a prison sentence of more than 500 years.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com