Child-porn cases re-indicted with more serious charges

  • JASUN SULLA

A 33-year-old Hilo man already under indictment for allegedly possessing child pornography now faces more severe charges in connection with the same incident.

A Hilo grand jury on Aug. 5 returned a two-count indictment against Jasun Sulla, also known as Jasun Sulla-Menashe, charging him with two counts of second-degree promotion of child abuse. Both counts are Class B felonies carrying a possible prison term of 10 years upon conviction.

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According to the indictment, on Feb. 27, 2018, Sulla had 31 video files containing images of minors engaging in sexual conduct, with six of those files containing images of a minor younger than 12. He also allegedly was in possession of 53 still images containing minors engaged in sexual conduct, with five files containing images of a minor younger than 12.

A bench warrant was issued for Sulla’s arrest, and bail was set at $20,000.

Sulla was originally indicted May 23, 2019, with a single count of third-degree promotion of child abuse, a Class C felony with a maximum prison term of five years upon conviction.

Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth confirmed Monday that the cases were the same as the 2019 indictment, but said Deputy Prosecutor Sylvia Wan reviewed the evidence “and realized we have children under 12” depicted in the allegedly pornographic images.

“The new charges better work with the evidence that we have,” Roth said.

Sulla was licensed as a marriage and family counselor who practiced in Hilo under the surname Sulla-Menashe.

According to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website, Sulla, a 2013 graduate of Argosy University, forfeited the license and is legally unable to practice.

Sulla is the son of Hilo attorney Paul Sulla, who pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft and second-degree forgery charges for allegedly stealing a narrow piece of land containing an easement in lower Puna.

The younger Sulla has a scheduled Sept. 22 court date for the original child pornography charge, to which he pleaded not guilty.

“Once he shows up for arraignment and plea on the $20,000 (bail) indictment, then we’ll dismiss the previous case,” Wan said.

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Sulla is free on $2,000 bail for the original charge.

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

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