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Man, 73, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sex assault of girl, 13

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:13 a.m. HST, Jun 27, 2013

A Kauai Circuit Court judge sentenced a 73-year-old registered sex offender Wednesday to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

Joseph Costa Rita Sr. of Kalaheo was convicted of third-degree sexual assault and failure to comply with sex offender registration requirements, both Class C felonies. He was sentenced to five years for each felony, to run back to back , according to a Kauai County news release.

During sentencing, Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Arin said Rita betrayed the trust of the victim’s family by taking advantage of their hospitality when they provided him a place to live and invited him to be part of their family. Arin urged Watanabe to impose the consecutive sentence, emphasizing Rita committed the sexual assault less than a year after he served a 15-year prison term for prior sexual assault and incest convictions.

Rita’s attorney Stephanie Sato asked Watanabe to consider his age, health issues and eligibility for parole.

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