Man pleads guilty to sexual assault on 15-year-old girl
His attorney disagrees with his client, saying the victim had lied
A 34-year-old Florida man will likely get five years' probation and have to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty yesterday to fondling a 15-year-old Oahu girl he met on the Internet.
Anthony Scott Waterman of Destin, Fla., withdrew previous not-guilty pleas for 13 counts of sexual assault in a deal with prosecutors. The agreement reduced six of the counts from first to third degree, sparing Waterman the possibility of a mandatory 20 years in jail.
He also waived his right to a trial, meaning the teenager will not have to testify.
Waterman is being held at the Oahu Community Correctional Center on $250,000 bail because he is considered a flight risk. He could be ordered to pay some restitution when he is sentenced Sept. 24.
Police arrested Waterman Nov. 21 at Honolulu Airport after the girl told officers he had sexually assaulted her in his rented room in Kaneohe. The girl showed police a picture of the man that she had taken with her cell phone.
Appearing before Circuit Judge Steven Alm, Waterman, shackled at his feet and wearing a white T-shirt tucked into light blue jeans, confessed that he assaulted the girl several times on Nov. 12 and 19.
Deputy Prosecutor Rochelle Vidinha said the agreement will "spare the victim from the trauma" of testifying before a jury.
"The state is encouraged by the fact that he took responsibility for his crimes," she said. "We feel that this was a fair resolution."
Waterman's guilty pleas came against the advice of deputy public defender Ronette Kawakami. Waterman said the girl told him she was 25 years old and looking for a husband, Kawakami said. When he first saw her, Waterman suspected she was much younger but thought she could be at least 18, Kawakami said.
"He was attracted to someone whom he thought was 25, and now he is facing five years' probation," she said.
She said Waterman, a self-employed contractor going through a divorce, wants to return to Florida, where he has an 18-month-old daughter. That state's laws against sex crimes are stricter than Hawaii's, according to Kawakami, who said some areas ban convicted offenders from living within 2,000 feet of parks and schools.
Waterman has been arrested 11 times for misdemeanor offenses in other jurisdictions.