KAILUA-KONA — A 36-year-old Ka‘u man indicted by a Kona grand jury for a 2017 sexual assault of a minor while serving an intermittent prison sentence for similar charges back to 2011 pleaded guilty Tuesday in Circuit Court.
Ryan Queja was indicted in August on two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a minor who was at least 14 years old but less than 16 at the time of the assault.
He was also charged with witness tampering for “intentionally engaging in conduct to induce a witness or a person he believed was about to be called as a witness to testify falsely or withhold any testimony,” according to the indictment.
On Tuesday, Queja changed his plea to guilty of one count of first-degree sexual assault with a minor. The other two charges were dropped in the plea agreement.
In February 2011, he pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, two counts of third-degree sexual assault and third-degree attempted sexual assault. He was sentenced to 24 months incarceration to be served intermittently with a minimum of three months each year and 900 hours of community service.
Queja, a registered sex offender, was still serving his intermittent sentence for the 2011 sexual assault when he allegedly re-offended in 2017. He was released on probation for the earlier assault in December 2018.
His probation on the first offense was revoked and he will be resentenced in that case on Feb. 24 by Kona Circuit Court Judge Robert D.S. Kim. Kim will also sentence him that day for the latest case.
Queja faces 20 years incarceration for each case, with a mandatory minimum sentence of six years, eight months. The judge will decide if sentencing will run concurrently (at the same time) or consecutively.
The Hawaii Paroling Authority will set the minimum time Queja will serve.
Queja remains in custody at Hawaii Community Correctional Center.