Man Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Child Gets Probation

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- A Florida man convicted of sexually assaulting a Hawaii girl he met on the internet is a free man. Anthony Waterman managed to avoid further jail time at his sentencing Monday.

He came to Hawaii to meet his on-line friend, and wound up in an Oahu jail for 307 days.

"He just wants to go home and that's basically been his bottom line," Ronette Kawakami, deputy public defender, said.

According to court papers, Anthony Waterman of Florida hooked up with a 15-year-old girl at an inn in Kaneohe last November. His attorney says the child, whom he met in a chat room, told him she was 25 years old.

"The law is set up to protect younger people because their judgment is not fully formed," Steven Alm, Circuit judge, said. "They are not as responsible as adults, and the burden is squarely on your shoulders."

The 34-year-old earlier pleaded guilty to 13 counts of sex assault.

On this day, the judge accepts Waterman's deal with prosecutors, and sentences him to probation and time already served.

"We're not seeking to minimize his conduct in this case in any way, shape or form," Michelle Puu, deputy prosecutor, said. "This was a defendant who flew all the way over here from Florida to prey on a child."

And for that, he'll have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

"On a personal level, I wouldn't meet anyone on the internet," Kawakami said. "I'm not trying to judge anybody else. But I think it's just too fraught with danger."

Danger, she says, for both children and adults.

The judge sentences Waterman to five years probation, which he may be able to serve back in Florida.