A 55-year-old Mountain View resident was sentenced to 18 months in jail and five years probation in connection with a sex assault that occurred in 2016.
Samuel Sniffen Sr. was given the half-decade of probation for second-degree sexual assault during a sentencing hearing Thursday before Judge Henry T. Nakamoto in Hilo. Sniffen pleaded guilty to the offense on June 25.
The judge ordered, among other terms and conditions, that Sniffen obtain, participate and complete a sex offense-specific treatment program until clinically discharged and prior to the expiration of his probation term. As a term of his probation, Sniffen must serve 18 months in jail and will be required to register as a sex offender with the Hawaii Police Department.
The charge came as a result of the Hawaii County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney in 2019 being one of 10 grantees nationwide to receive a Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grant to expand upon the work that began with the statewide Hawaii Sexual Assault Response Team, states a press release from county Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth. Through the program, the office is able to engage in a multidisciplinary community response to sexual assault cases and prosecute cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.
As a result of the grant, Sniffen was indicted on one count of second-degree sexual assault for an incident dating to May 25, 2016.
“Sniffen committed his offense when the victim was unconscious and unable to describe what happened or who the perpetrator was,” the press release reads. “The SAKI project developed evidence to identify Sniffen as the perpetrator. The plea agreement was the result of victim-centered, trauma-informed, multidisciplinary team effort in a case that likely would not have been prosecuted in years past.”
The office said it is continuing to work with its multidisciplinary team to further investigate and prosecute sexual assault kits that were tested under the state Department of Attorney General’s SAKI award.