Shane Fernandez was sentenced yesterday to 25 years in prison for the sex assault of a girl for two years.

25-year term handed
down in sex assault

The victim was only 7 years old
when the assaults began

By Leila Fujimori

Despite a mother's insistence on life in prison for her former boyfriend who sexually assaulted her daughter for two years, Circuit Judge Richard Perkins handed down a 25-year prison term with the possibility of parole yesterday for Shane Fernandez.

Deputy Prosecutor Trish Morikawa, in a tearful plea, also urged Perkins to sentence the 24-year-old Waipahu man to life imprisonment.

Perkins said that although the offenses are terrible, Fernandez has a chance at rehabilitation. Fernandez is young and has no prior criminal convictions, Perkins said.

The Hawaii Paroling Authority will decide how much Fernandez will serve of the 25-year term -- 20 years for 12 counts of first-degree sexual assault of a minor and five years for 18 counts of third-degree sexual assault and three counts of promotion of child abuse.

The sexual assaults began when the girl was nearly 8 years old and continued until she was 10 before her mother accidentally discovered videotapes of the sexual acts and notified police last year.

The charges against Fernandez stem from abuse beginning in April 1999 and ending in July, when he was arrested, Morikawa said.

Fernandez also was sentenced on one count of sexually assaulting the victim's older sister, who was abused to a far lesser extent.

Morikawa said the girl, who must endure her schoolmates' teasing, will face a lifetime of therapy because of the stigma of sexual assault.

The girl's mother, Christine Saloricman, said Fernandez has ruined the lives of all her family members.

Saloricman's older son (fathered by Fernandez) has "spiraled out of control in school," and her older daughter ran away from home, she said.

"Your evil, selfish, twisted acts have cost our family a lifetime of pain and suffering," she told him. "You should never be allowed near any children for the rest of your life."

Although Saloricman was disappointed with the sentence, she said after the hearing, "At least I know he'll be off the streets and he can't harm my daughters or my son."

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