Deputy Prosecutor Loren Haugen said in state court Tuesday that he offered fired Honolulu police officer Teddy Van Lerberghe a plea deal in the sexual assault case against him involving a victim who was 5-year-old when the sexual assaults started because that’s what the victim wanted.
“There was one aspect that she did deem quite important. And that by pleading to the charges, Teddy Van Lerberghe could never, ever again be a police officer or become a police officer in this state or any state,” Haugen said.
The victim did not show up in court Tuesday for Van Lerberghe’s sentence.
Circuit Judge Rowena Somerville said she approved the deal only after she received assurances that the victim and the victim’s family agreed with it.
“The court doesn’t take these matters lightly. These are serious offenses,” she said.
Somerville sentenced Van Lerberghe, 45, to five years of probation for four counts of second-degree sexual assault and three counts of third-degree sexual assault, and did not order him to serve any of the five years behind bars, according to the terms of the plea agreement. She also ordered Van Lerberghe to pay $735 in fees into a state special fund for crime victims, $700 into a fund used to investigate and prosecute internet crimes against children and a $150 probation services fee.
In addition, Van Lerberghe must submit to sex offender treatment and register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.
An Oahu grand jury returned an indictment in 2017 charging Van Lerberghe with four counts of first-degree sexual assault and the three third-degree sexual assaults. The state agreed to reduce the first-degree sexual assaults to second-degree sexual assaults. Van Lerberghe pleaded no contest in May.
He declined to make a statement before hearing his sentence. His lawyer, Victor Bakke, said after the hearing that Van Lerberghe took the deal because he was facing mandatory 20-year prison terms for each of the four original first-degree sexual assault charges.
“They’re class A felonies with open 20-year prison sentences. There’s no probation. So if you go to trial and you lose, its over. You go to prison and you die in prison,” Bakke said.
Van Lerberghe is convicted of sexually assaulting his victim starting in June 2004, when the girl was 5 years old, until June 2008. He joined the Honolulu Police Department in January 2007. The girl first reported the sexual assaults in 2015. HPD investigated the case and fired Van Lerberghe in May 2016. Prosecutors took the case to a state grand jury in March 2017.