Kona man found guilty of sexual assault of minor under 14
A jury found 45-year-old Joshua Masuda-Mercado of Kailua-Kona guilty of continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14 and attempted sexual assault in the first degree on Wednesday in Kona Circuit Court, according to Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen.
The case stemmed from a string of incidents that occurred between November 2014 and August 2018 and a separate incident on July 2, 2019.
After the jury’s verdict, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chase Murray argued for bail to be set and that Masuda-Mercado, who had been previously granted supervised release over the prosecutors’ objections, be taken into custody.
The Circuit Court set bail at $150,000 and ordered Masuda-Mercado to return to court for sentencing on Dec. 9, 2022.
The two class A felony offenses that Masuda-Mercado was convicted on carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and also require him to register as a sex offender.
Masuda-Mercado originally was charged via a grand jury indictment in August 2020. A $100,000 indictment warrant was unserved for 10 months. In June of 2021, Masuda-Mercado was located in Tennessee. The Hawai‘i County prosecutors’ investigators coordinated his extradition to Hawai‘i.
“Justice prevailed yesterday,” Waltjen said. “We hope that this conviction provides the victim and her family some sense of justice and comfort. This verdict is the result of the hard work of police and prosecutors and sends a clear message that we will not tolerate the victimization of our keiki.”
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please go to a safe place, and call a trusted friend or relative for support. You can call 911 to report the sexual assault to the police. The YWCA Hawai‘i Island 24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline has advocates available 24 hours a day to provide support and advocacy. They can be reached at 808-935- 0677.