Man who pleaded guilty in horrific child pornography case faces 30 years behind bars

Prosecutors say he sexually abused two foster children for years, only giving them food in exchange for sexual acts.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 5:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu man charged with producing and possessing child pornography changed his plea to guilty in federal court on Thursday.

Bryson Mahoe, 31, was wearing a white jumpsuit with his ankles chained in court when he told a judge that he took sexually explicit photos and videos of two minors.

Court documents say the victims were about 7 and 8 years old at the time and were the foster children of his parents.

Mahoe is also a biological relative of the victims.

Prosecutors say for about a six-year period, Mahoe sexually abused the victims luring them with food.

During a search warrant in February last year, an SD card with an explicit video involving one of the victims was found at Mahoe’s home. Defense Attorney Megan Kau said most defendants in these types of cases plead guilty to avoid extended prison time.

“The most difficult part for the defense in these types of cases is that videos and photographs don’t lie,” said Kau.

“And so it is probably a better idea, in most cases for a defendant to accept the plea agreement because if you go to trial, now the judge gets to see the videos, see the photographs, the jury sees it.”

Child welfare advocates criticized state social workers and believe Mahoe was able to get away with the crimes for so long because of inadequate monitoring of the foster home.

“It’s a mess, it’s a mess,” said state Rep. John Mizuno. “They are looking for a solution they want to resolve, and they just can’t get it and again, you can do some minor changes, but that’s not going to fix the system when a system is broken.”

In a step to change the child welfare system, Mizuno who chairs the committee for human services said they passed a bill creating the Malama Ohana Working Group.

“They’re going to work with community advocates, a major working group to recommend transformative changes in the child welfare services,” said Mizuno. “This is what we need.”

“Again, it’s not an attack to the director or the Department of Human Services, but they cannot do it alone.”

Mahoe could face up to 30 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Nov. 15.