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Sheriff deputy acquitted of assaulting woman in custody

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:15 a.m. HST, Dec 19, 2012

A state jury deliberated about an hour before finding state Sheriff Deputy Benjamin U. Fonoti not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in custody at Honolulu District Court.

The 47-year-old woman said Fonoti took her to the fifth-floor cellblock on Oct. 10, 2011 and sexually assaulted her.

She filed a complaint 10 days later giving investigators a description of her assailant that does not appear to match Fonoti. She also gave investigators the shorts she was wearing which she said had a spot of her assailant’s DNA.

A former Honolulu criminalist said there was not enough DNA to reach any conclusions. But a defense expert told the jurors there was enough DNA to conclude that it did not come from Fonoti.

Fonoti said of the verdict that he had no doubt that he was going to be acquitted.

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