Sex assault suspect pleads guilty 17 years after crime - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Sex assault suspect pleads guilty 17 years after crime

Michael Stephens Michael Stephens
Thalia Murphy Thalia Murphy
Michael Green Michael Green

By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A convicted sex offender, who fled Hawaii after being accused of molesting a teenager, pleaded guilty in the 17-year-old case Thursday.

Michael Stephens did his best to avoid prosecution, even faking his own death. But he's now locked up and facing a lengthy prison term.

After Michael Stephens sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy back in 1990, he received a gift.

"He was convicted and was sentenced to probation and no jail," Thalia Murphy, deputy prosecutor, said. "His probation was revoked several times, and several times he got probation and no jail."

In 1993, while free on probation, prosecutors say Stephens served alcohol to an 18-year-old male high school student until he passed out and then sexually assaulted him. He fled the state to avoid prosecution.

"Prior to fleeing, he faked his own death by taking a boat out to sea," Murphy said. "He had a firearm. He shot holes in the bottom of the boat and wanted everyone to believe that he was dead."

After 14 years on the run, authorities nabbed him in Mexico and brought him back to Hawaii. On Thursday, the 57-year-old pleaded guilty to multiple sex assault charges stemming from the second case.

"He's happy it's over," Michael Green, defense attorney, said. "I think he's also happy that the complaining witness did not have to come back and be exposed to the media and trials. Everybody gets on with their life and he'll deal with what's ahead of him."

What's ahead is a lengthy stay in prison. A judge has already revoked probation and re-sentenced Stephens to 20 years for the first case. He's expected to receive a five-year prison term when he's sentenced in April for the second incident.

"It's been very hard on both victims in these cases because they knew he was out there," Murphy said. "For the next 20 years, he'll be locked up. He will not be molesting any other children in our community."

Under a plea deal with prosecutors, Stephens will serve the 20-year and five-year prison terms at the same time.

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