Sex Assault Victim Found Not Guilty of Sex Assault

Eugene Saulibio
Eugene Saulibio
Victor Bakke
Victor Bakke
Joseph Bukoski III
Joseph Bukoski III

By Stephen Florino

LIHUE, KAUAI (KHNL) - A 45-year old Kauai man was acquitted of sexual assault charges Friday, his second victory in similar cases in a year.

Only in the other case, he was the victim.

A jury acquitted Saulibio on four counts of first degree sex assault. His accuser claims the assaults happened during a month-long stay with Saulibio's family in 1996.

"He's relieved that the truth has come out," said Victor Bakke, Saulibio's lawyer.

He was 35-years old at the time. She was 14.

"The main legal issue in this case was whether there was physical force used," said Kauai County prosecutor Jennifer Winn. "We thought we had the evidence to prove the case."

Saulibio admitted to having a relationship with the girl, but says it was consensual, and there was no intercourse.

"It wasn't very moral, it wasn't right by a lot of people's standards," said Bakke. "But we weren't in court because it wasn't right. We were in court because he forcibly raped her."

Another issue is the age of consent. Today, it's 16-years old. In 1996, it was 14-years old, making the relationship legal at the time.

"If the law in 1996 was the way it is today, this would be a different case," said Winn.

"What he felt he did wrong was he abused the trust of someone who was younger," said Bakke.

That's the same feeling Saulibio had when a priest assaulted him 30-years ago.

The jury took two days to come to the verdict.