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Hawaii psychologist gets 20 years in prison for assaulting teen patient

COURTESY PHOTO
                                Reuben Lelah
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COURTESY PHOTO

Reuben Lelah

A Kona Circuit Court judge sentenced a 72-year-old Kailua-Kona clinical psychologist to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy between the ages of 14 and 15 in 2019.

Reuben Lelah, who was initially indicted June 27 on two counts of first-degree sexual assault and two counts of third-degree sexual assault, pleaded guilty March 15 to two counts of second-degree sexual assault.

Judge Kimberly Tsuchiya sentenced him Friday to 10 years for each of the crimes, to be sentenced consecutively, and gave credit for the few days of time served to Lelah, who was arrested in June and released July 5 on a $40,000 bond.

Lelah admitted to sexually assaulting on two occasions between June 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019, a person identified by the initials A.S., who was born in 2005, making him 18 or 19 years old now.

Had Lelah been convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual assault, each carrying a maximum 20-year term, he could have received a 40-year sentence.

The victim’s family filed June 27 a civil complaint with the Third Circuit Court against Loving Service Foundation, a Hawaii nonprofit corporation, and Lelah.

According to the complaint, Lelah is a licensed clinical psychologist offering certain counseling and psychological services through Loving Service Foundation.

The foundation’s principal place of business is Lelah’s residence in Kailua-Kona, and he is its president and treasurer, the complaint says.

The victim was receiving psychology treatment and counseling services from Lelah through the foundation, the complaint says.

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