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Child sexual assault victim's family fights for right to speedy - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Child sexual assault victim's family fights for right to speedy trial

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HONOLULU -

A family who has waited nearly three years for justice in a child sexual assault case is turning to Hawaii lawmakers for help.

They worked with several lawmakers on HB 1952. 

Island News spoke with the victim's mother who agreed to be identified as Maria. We chose not to show Maria's face to protect her daughter's identity. 

"She really wants to see this over with, but we are just trying to keep busy as much as we can, and not have this dwell over her childhood," said Maria. 

Maria said her daughter was just 6-years-old when she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a man in his 50's. She asked Island News to withhold the man's name, but told us the incident was reported in 2015. 

"Every three months, we're thinking, 'okay, this is going to be it,'" said Maria, "but three months comes and it's not our turn, the defense asks for another delay." 

Maria's daughter is now 9-years-old, but the man accused of assaulting her still hasn't gone to trial.

Records show the trial has been delayed at least 12 times in less than three years. 

"People need to be validated, that what was done to them, is wrong," said Rep. Cindy Evans (D- North Kona). 

Rep. Evans, Rep. John Mizuno (D- Kalihi Valley), and Rep. Linda Ichiyama (D- Moanalua Valley) are sponsoring HB 1952, which would help protect victims like Maria's daughter. 

"The purpose of the bill is to send a message to the judiciary, that when you deal with these cases, please have a speedy trial," said Rep. Evans. 

They said Maria's daughter's case is just one of many in Hawaii.

"If you are a defense attorney, that is your top tactical more-- defend, delay, defend, delay," said Rep. Mizuno. 

Rep. Mizuno said each delay prolongs a victim's suffering. Under HB 1952, the courts must consider any adverse impact on a victim before postponing a trial. 

"The longer the case goes on, you lose witnesses, memories fade, but the victim, the victim is hurt," said Rep. Mizuno.  

As Maria and her daughter wait for another day in court, they hope other state lawmakers will be on their side. 

"What ever vote you make is going to be a public vote, and we will be able to know who is for child victims and protecting their rights, and who isn't," said Maria. 

The bill has been referred to the House Finance and Judiciary committees. Senator Will Espero (D- Ewa Beach) sponsored the senate version of the bill. 
 

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