Man accused of possessing child porn pleads not guilty

  • JOHN BURNETT/Tribune-Herald Jason Sulla, also known as Jason Sulla-Menashe, left, appears in Hilo Circuit Court Friday with attorney Paul Sulla, his father.

The attorney for a licensed marriage and family counselor in Hilo who’s accused of having possessed child pornography said he and his client — who is also his son — intend to “fight this all the way.”

Jasun Sulla, also known as Jasun Sulla-Menashe, entered not guilty plea to a single count of third-degree promotion of child abuse Friday. Hilo Circuit Judge Henry Nakamoto ordered him to appear for trial at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 14. The 32-year-old Sulla was booked Thursday by police under the name Jasun Mittaark Sulla-Menashe and was released from custody after posting $2,000 bail.

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Sulla was represented in court Friday by his father, Hilo attorney Paul Sulla. He was indicted May 22 by a Hilo grand jury.

According to the indictment, on Feb. 27, 2018, Sulla was in possession of “electronically stored data … that contains an image of child pornography, and/or any pornographic material which employs, uses, or otherwise contains a minor engaging in or assisting others to engage in sexual conduct, to wit, digital media files on an Apple MacBook A118 … .”

After the hearing, Paul Sulla told the Tribune-Herald his son was being “crucified” because of the newspaper coverage.

“My son is presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Paul Sulla said. “We will give our side and be able to prove our side in court. We’re going to basically fight this all the way. He’s a good boy, good person, has an upstanding professional background. And these charges are overblown.” The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website lists a marriage and family therapy license for Jasun Mittaark Sulla-Menashe as “current, valid and in good standing” with an expiration date of Dec. 31. It dates the original date of his license as Dec. 12, 2017.

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The regulatory agency lists no complaints, either current or past, against him.

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