KAILUA-KONA — A Captain Cook man was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for sexual assault of a minor, the Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced today.
Rudolph Puni Kaeo was issued consecutive terms and will serve up to 10 years for the charge of second-degree sexual assault, up to five years for third-degree promoting child abuse, and up to five years for third-degree conspiracy to promote child abuse, for a total sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Kaeo pleaded no contest to the charges on Aug. 27, in which he sexually assaulted a minor, encouraged the minor to send him pornographic images of herself, and possessed further pornographic images of the minor over a period of time beginning in March of 2016 and lasting until January of 2017.
The charges came about after the minor’s caregiver discovered sexually explicit images and messages between Kaeo and the minor on a tablet belonging to the minor.
The matter was reported to the Hawaii Police Department, which began an investigation. Police collected the tablet device and recovered the images of child pornography, as well as messages between Kaeo and the minor. Police executed a search warrant on Kaeo’s cellphone, as well as questioned Kaeo, who acknowledged sending and receiving the messages. Further investigation led to the minor disclosing details of a sexual assault occurring in Ocean View in July of 2016.
Kaeo was sentenced to consecutive prison terms by 3rd Circuit Judge Melvin H. Fujino today following the recommendation of the state and the pre-sentence investigation report.
After hearing from the minor victim herself in court, Kaeo was immediately taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
In a statement, the Hawaii County Prosecutors Office said they are grateful for the cooperation of the minor victim and supportive members of her family, as well as the excellent work of the Hawaii Police Department, in prosecuting this difficult case.