Monday, Oct. 02, 2023|
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A 64-year-old Hilo man accused of sexually assaulting a woman Friday morning in Orchidland Estates is a driver for Arc of Hilo and the alleged victim, an adult, was mentally unable to consent to sex and physically unable to resist, according to court documents filed by police.
Documents also state the alleged assault took place in a service van owned by Arc of Hilo, an organization which, according to its website, has a mission “to improve the quality of life for people with developmental and/or other disabilities on Hawaii Island through recreational, vocational and life skills training.”
Louis Sardis is charged with three counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault. Documents state that two witnesses saw Sardis “on top of” the 32-year-old woman “moving in an up and down motion behind the driver’s seat.”
Sardis also allegedly admitted to police, after being advised of his rights, that he had sexually penetrated the alleged victim.
At Sardis’ initial appearance Monday in Hilo District Court, Deputy Public Defender Austin Hsu told Judge Michael Udovic there had been “a potential request for a Chuukese interpreter in this matter.”
“I did speak to Mr. Sardis previously about that, and he does not need a translator. … He was a court interpreter,” Hsu said.
Hsu said the bail study prepared by the state Department of Public Safety’s Intake Service Center recommended supervised release for Sardis, which would allow for him to be freed from custody without posting bail.
“We’ll also note that this is Mr. Sardis’ first charges ever,” Hsu told the judge. “… They noted even though the gravity of the charges is high, they said his risk level is moderate.” Hsu also asked Udovic to entertain a bail reduction if the judge was unwilling to release Sardis without bail being posted.
Deputy Prosecutor Glenn Shiigi acknowledged the recommendation of supervised release, but requested Sardis’ $64,000 bail be maintained “for the protection of the public that the defendant remain in custody.”
“Defendant was working … providing transportation to the victim, who, according to her mother, is mentally and physically challenged and vulnerable,” Shiigi argued. “She’s had a seizure disorder since birth … unable to walk without assistance. She uses a wheelchair. She basically needs assistance for everything (and) limited comprehension. Defendant was … entrusted to provide for her transportation and care and allegedly violated that trust.”
Udovic reduced Sardis’ bail to $49,000 and ordered him to return at 2 p.m. Thursday for a preliminary hearing.
The Department of Public Safety website indicated Sardis remained in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center early Monday evening.
First-degree sexual assault is a Class A felony punishable by up to 20 years upon conviction. Third-degree sexual assault is a Class C felony that carries a possible five-year prison term.
Arc of Hilo President and CEO Debbie Perkins didn’t return a Monday morning phone message seeking comment by press time.
Email John Burnett at email@example.com.
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