State roundup for April 18
20-year term for sex abuse
LIHUE, Kauai (AP) — A Kapaa woman has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in a child sexual abuse case, months after pleading no contest to charges.
Jean Agonoy Paleracio was sentenced Wednesday in 5th Circuit Court after pleading no contest to videotaping her sexual acts with a child.
Paleracio, a former worker with the Kauai Economic Opportunity Early Learning Center, was given two concurrent 20-year terms. Prosecutors said Paleracio engaged in sexual activity with a boy between May 1, 2009, and Sept. 1, 2010.
“There’s no other way to put it, Miss Paleracio, other than you took ultimate advantage of a young boy,” Judge Kathleen Watanabe said.
Paleracio used to work with children and should appreciate more than most, the long-term traumatic effects on the child forced to commit a sexual act, the judge said. A prosecutor said the child is probably scarred for life.
Paleracio pleaded no contest to first-degree sexual assault and first-degree promotion of child abuse, and eight other felony charges were dismissed in December.
Paleracio was accused of producing or participating in preparation of child pornography materials with a minor engaging in or assisting others to engage in sexual conduct. Prosecutor Lisa Arin said Paleracio cooperated with the investigation early on. Because Paleracio understood the reality of the situation and showed true remorse, the state did not recommend consecutive sentences, Arin said.
County prosecuting attorney Justin Kollar said he was pleased the victim will not be exposed to the trauma of a trial.
Rep. Gabbard going to Asia
HONOLULU (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will join a group of congressional leaders on a trip to Asia to strengthen alliances in the region.
The bipartisan delegation will meet with leaders in Japan, South Korea and China to discuss economic growth, trade and regional security.
The group also will visit the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii for a discussion on Friday before they travel to Asia.
Gabbard made the announcement Thursday. She is the only Democrat in the delegation and she serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committee.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) also will attend.
Gabbard says economic and strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region are critical to advancing shared interests in stability and prosperity.
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