POSTED: 10:42 a.m. HST, Jan 16, 2014
LAST UPDATED: 1:09 a.m. HST, Jan 17, 2014
The 22-year-old mother who reported finding an abandoned baby at Sandy Beach last year and later admitted that she is the baby's mother said she panicked because she hadn't told her family she was pregnant.
In November, Keala Simeona pleaded no contest to filing a false police report in April.
Thursday morning, appearing in District Court with her attorney Franklin Pacarro Jr, Simeona expressed remorse and apologized to "authorities and her family for causing all this trouble."
"I ask for a chance to take care of my children," Simeona said.
Simeona will be required to serve 25 hours of community service, pay $55 to the criminal compensation fund and $75 in probation fees, and has to attend mental health classes.
District Court Judge Leslie Hayashi granted Simeona's deferred acceptance of no contest plea, which means she can avoid conviction if she stays out of trouble for a year.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Darryl Miyahira had asked for one year probation, 50 hours of community service and mandatory parenting classes.
Simeona falsely told police at Queen's Medical Center on April 28 that she found the baby near the water at Sandy Beach after she heard several people screaming. Simeona had taken the unclothed baby to the hospital, where it was determined that the infant was born about two or three weeks premature and weighed about 8 pounds.
After the hearing Pacarro told reporters that after the baby was delivered Simeona took the child to the hospital because she didn't know how to tell her family.
Pacarro said Simeona had been able to hide her pregnancy.
"No one knew she was pregnant," Pacarro told reporters. "She was slim."
"She did the best she could do under the circumstances."
Since then the Family Court has ruled that she could keep the child, as well as another child that she has.
Pacarro said the situation was complicated by the statement Simeona gave the police at the hospital.
Simeona was arrested and charged April 30 with false reporting, a misdemeanor. Initially, police had opened cases of abandonment and endangerment of a minor -- both felonies. The maximum penalty for a misdemeanor is a jail term of one year.
During the hearing Pacarro told Hayashi that Simeona did not abandon her baby and instead took her to the hospital.
Pacarro said that Simeona now works at two jobs to support herself and her children and has plans to attend college.
Simeona has been free after posting $250 bail last year.
Hayashi approved a request that Simeona's court costs be taken out of her bail.