Adora gets 20 years
for raping 4 girls

A state judge rejected a convicted rapist's request to withdraw his guilty pleas yesterday and instead sentenced him to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting four girls.

Circuit Judge Derrick Chan also found without merit Jovie Adora's explanation that he was forced to plead guilty because unnamed police officers had threatened him and his family with harm.

Chan said Adora's story and testimony on the stand yesterday "lacked credibility, was totally unsubstantiated and not plausible."

Adora, 24, of Ewa Beach, pleaded guilty in March to charges of first-, second- and third-degree sexual assault and kidnapping for raping four girls between June 2000 and October 2001.

He was facing 20 years in prison when he was to be sentenced on June 4, but he fled the courthouse on the pretense of feeling ill and later boarded a plane bound for the Philippines. He was arrested when the plane stopped over on Guam and was returned here.

His sentencing was delayed to yesterday after Adora hired a new attorney and filed court documents alleging he was forced to plead guilty after he was pulled over by police twice earlier this year and threatened with harm if he did not accept a plea agreement.

Adora maintained yesterday that he is innocent and wants to withdraw his guilty pleas and go to trial.

Adora testified yesterday that he did not tell anyone, not even his then-attorney Keith Shigetomi, about the threatening incidents because he did not feel he could trust his lawyer and because he felt afraid, especially for his family.

In the first incident, Adora testified, two men in a unmarked car and civilian clothes who identified themselves as police officers pulled him over on Kunia Road on Feb. 27 and threatened to harm him and his family if he did not accept a plea agreement and plead guilty to the charges. One of his victims was the daughter of a policeman. Adora said one of the men held a silver gun to his head and threatened him.

He also did not tell anyone about a second incident on May 26 involving two men -- one of them the driver in the first incident -- who he said pulled him over on Old Farrington Highway near Kapolei. Earlier that day, he had gone to court to try to withdraw his guilty plea, but the judge denied his motion. He said the men, riding in an unmarked police car and identifying themselves as police, drove him to the Barbers Point camping grounds and ordered him to stop fighting the charges.

Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bell called Adora's account a fabrication. He said Adora could not corroborate or verify that what he said had happened, and his story was akin to saying people from outer space were responsible.

Adora had ample opportunity on several occasions to tell the judge about the alleged incidents, his dissatisfaction with his lawyer's representation and that he was being pressured to plead guilty, but did not do so, Bell said.

Adora's attorney, Jonathan Burge, said that while it was Adora's word against the police, Adora's testimony about the two encounters was plausible, and his reasons for not telling anyone were legitimate.

Burge said he believes Adora will appeal. Prosecutors say they are looking at whether escape charges are warranted.


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