Former wrestling coach sentenced for sexual assault

Keith Matsumoto
Keith Matsumoto

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By Diamond Badajos

Keith Matsumoto, 56, was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old female wrestler.

The incident happened in June 2012 at a tournament at Farrington High School.

A longtime wrestling coach and community coordinator, Matsumoto was caught on camera by a fellow spectator, inappropriately touching the teen. But Matsumoto described the gesture as a "congratulatory pat on the butt."

Prosecutor Rochelle Vidinha, who represented the victim and her family, said that it's Matsumoto's likeability that makes him a danger to the community. She even referred to him as a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

"He's well liked and people trust him, and that's what makes him so dangerous, and he took advantage of his position of trust and authority to commit this offense," Vidinha said.

The victim and her family were not present for the sentencing, but the courtroom was filled with the defendant's supporters.

Circuit Judge Randall Lee said that the case was "unfortunate" because of Matsumoto's active participation in the community. On that same note, Judge Lee commended the victim for coming forward.

"She had to come into court to face humiliation, cross examination and to some extent, I can imagine intimidation from the wrestling community," said Judge Lee. "By coming into court and doing the right thing, she is a champion in my book."

Matsumoto had no criminal record prior to this offense.

Defense attorney David Hayakawa said that Matsumoto has started the process of therapy, is grasping the complex issues of his actions, and is learning how to incorporate these teachings into his life.

When given the opportunity to address the court, Matsumoto apologized to the victim and her family and "wished her well."

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