Big Island resident Derek M. Cavillis has been convicted of sexually assaulting two children over several years. A Kona jury returned guilty verdicts on all 10 felony child sexual assault counts before it, according to Prosecuting Attorney Charlene lboshi.
According to evidence presented during the two-week trial, the two children had been repeatedly sexually assaulted while they were between the ages of 5 and 8. Deputy Prosecutors Jeffery Burleson and Joyce Seelen presented testimony from the children, from other witnesses and experts and from police officers.
The children had maintained secrecy for several years before reporting the assaults. They testified to having been pressured and threatened by the defendant to remain silent. An expert witness told the jury delayed disclosure of childhood sexual abuse is the norm rather than the exception. The prosecution team also presented evidence Cavillis had confessed to police before he was arrested and charged with the offenses. Cavillis later claimed he had been high on methamphetamine at the time of the confession and the confessions were not accurate.
Cavillis, 39, was convicted July 13 of six Class A felony charges of sexual assault in the first degree, and four Class C felony charges of sexual assault in the third degree. The difference between the felonies involves the type of sexual act alleged. Each of the Class A felonies carries a mandatory indeterminate prison term of 20 years. Each of the Class C felonies carries a 5-year maximum prison term. Cavillis, who had been free on bond, was remanded into the custody of the Hawaii Sheriff’s office immediately after the verdict was read. Prior to that, Cavillis had resided in South Kohala and, more recently, in Kealakekua.
Sentencing is scheduled for 9 a.m Sept. 10, in Kona Circuit Court. The court will have the option to run the 10 sentences concurrently or consecutively. The maximum sentence the defendant faces is 140 years in prison. — WHT