Man says loneliness led him to sexually assault teen girls

Jon Joseph Rutherford
Jon Joseph Rutherford
Thalia Murphy
Thalia Murphy

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A man convicted of sexually assaulting two teenaged girls says loneliness led him to commit the crimes. Jon Joseph Rutherford tearfully apologized to the victims at his sentencing Monday.

Prosecutors call the former military man a sexual predator. He was free on probation for a 2006 sex assault case when he molested a second child.

A day before he turns 23 years old, Jon Joseph Rutherford prepares to hear how many more birthdays he'll celebrate in prison. He was first convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2006.

"My daughter was affected by this strongly and she's paying for it now," the victim's mother said. "I hope you're happy with that. You've ruined people's lives."

Prosecutors say within a month of being released on probation in that case, the former Schofield Barracks soldier molested a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet and later fled to the mainland.

"Since this happened, I can't look at men the same," the second victim said. "Even if I go out, I'm scared."

Rutherford blames a traumatic childhood and loneliness for his actions.

"I'm sorry that this happened," the convicted sex offender said. "I'm sorry that I caused this. I didn't mean to. I just hated being alone."

He argues his 13-year-old victim was a willing participant.

"I never forced her into anything," he said. "She was, the word, infatuated."

The judge calls Rutherford's probation violation inexcusable and hands down a 15-year prison sentence. Prosecutors say they'll ask the Hawaii parole board to make him serve the entire term.

"What the defendant has done in this community is outrageous," Thalia Murphy, deputy prosecutor, said. "And he deserves to serve a very long jail sentence."

Rutherford is also ordered to pay $3,249.97 in restitution to the mother of his second victim, as well as $4,724.21 in extradition costs.