Puna man with history of domestic violence charged with sexual assault of a minor

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James Kepa

A Puna man is scheduled to make an initial appearance in Hilo District Court today on charges of sexual assault and kidnapping of a child less than 14 years old.

Charges stem from an incident that reportedly occurred on Aug. 15 at a residence in the Hawaiian Paradise Park subdivision. According to Hawai‘i County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, 40-year-old James Pomaikai Kepa knowingly engaged in sexual intercourse with a minor whom he was prohibited from having contact with by a court order.

The Puna native was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, second-degree assault and violation of an Order for Protection. Kepa is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon in Hilo District Court. He remains in custody in lieu of $610,000 bail.


The most serious charge, Sexual Assault in the First Degree, is a class A felony offense and carries a penalty of a 20-year prison term. Prosecutors have provided notice in the Complaint of an intention to seek an extended term of imprisonment.

According to court records, Kepa has had four domestic violence cases filed against him since 2019. In 2021, Kepa pleaded no contest to charges of kidnapping, terroristic threatening and abuse of household member. Hilo Circuit Court Judge Peter Kubota issued a five-year probation sentence with one year jail and credit for time served.


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