Under plea deal, man gets 6 days behind bars for sexually assaulting minor

A mother left angered after accepting a plea deal that let an accused rapist off the hook

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu mother is disgusted that the man she says sexually assaulted her daughter was sentenced to probation on Tuesday.

Todd Bruggman, 56, was accused of repeatedly molesting a 6-year-old girl for more than a year at a Waikiki condo complex.

The girl’s mother, Maria Tijerna, said she worked for Bruggman’s wife and he often babysat because he has a daughter around that same age.

In 2015, Bruggman was indicted on continuous sex assault of a minor, first-degree sex assault, second-degree sex assault and third-degree sex assault.

But a plea agreement dropped all four counts of sexual assault and Bruggman pleaded no contest to second-degree attempted assault, a felony charge, and harassment, a petty misdemeanor.

Bruggman was sentenced to six days in jail with credit for time served, five years of probation and must pay $200 in restitution.

Bruggman does not have to register as a sex offender.

Tijerina is still convinced he is a child predator.

“My daughter was a victim of repeated first-degree sexual assaults her entire first grade year and then she spent her second, third, fourth and fifth grade years waiting for justice that didn’t come,” said Tijerina. "He gets to be on probation for repeatedly raping a 6-year-old child.”

The city Prosecutor’s Office said it met with Tijerina several times on the case.

In a statement, the office said that “...to spare her daughter the trauma of having to testify, the victim’s mother agreed to a plea agreement. That agreement was accepted by the court in February. Today the defendant was sentenced in accordance with that agreement."

Bruggman’s lawyer says justice has been served.

“These cases are extremely emotional and I understand that. My client’s family truly believes he’s innocent as he does," said attorney Thomas Otake.

Tijerina admits she agreed to the plea deal but said she was misled and even changed her mind, but claims prosecutors told her it was too late.

“The prosecutor’s office called me and told me that I would be a bad mother if I were to put her on the stand,” said Tijerina. “I called her first thing in the morning and I said, no, I don’t want this, no deal. And she told me too late, I already drafted it and I’m sending it out.”

Otake is hoping both parties can move on.

“Part of why we entered this plea agreement, plead no contest, was in part so that everybody could put this behind them so that the girl did not need to testify in court and we hope that everything works out for all parties in this case," he said.

Tijerina says it is far from over and plans to file a civil suit.

"We need to do something more about this and not let Hawaii be a safe haven for predators."

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