comscore Maui farmer pleads no contest to sexually assaulting Big Isle children | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Top News

Maui farmer pleads no contest to sexually assaulting Big Isle children

  • GOOGLE MAPS

    Michael Martin Zelko pleaded no contest Friday to 11 counts of third-degree sexual assault, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

HILO >> A Maui farmer has been convicted of sexually assaulting four girls on the Big Island between 1998 and 2007.

Michael Martin Zelko pleaded no contest Friday to 11 counts of third-degree sexual assault, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Zelko, 59, was initially charged with multiple counts of first-degree sexual assault and continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14. He pleaded no contest to the lesser charges after reaching an agreement with Big Island prosecutors.

Prosecutors will seek a five-year prison sentence, according to the plea agreement. The Hawaii Paroling Authority will ultimately decide how much time he will serve in prison.

Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura scheduled Zelko’s sentencing for May 20.

According to court documents, the youngest victim was 5 years old when the abuse started. All the victims under the age of 10.

The judge asked Zelko’s attorney, Michael Green, about the facts in the amended charges in the plea deal.

“You know, we’re not required under a no contest plea to go through the facts,” Green told the judge. “We’re pleading no contest, but we’re not agreeing that they actually happened.”

Zelko was released on bail until sentencing. The prominent organic farmer held workshops across the state before he was indicted in August 2016.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up