Former Mitsu-ken owner sentenced for child sex assault

Published: Aug. 19, 2009 at 10:13 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 19, 2009 at 11:24 PM HST
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By Minna Sugimoto - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - He was one of the owners of the popular Kalihi eatery Mitsu-ken. Now, he's a child molester serving the first day of a 20-year prison term.

Lyle Nonaka says the man who arranged his sexual encounter with a boy set up similar liaisons for others. While the alleged accomplice was arrested, he hasn't been charged.

Lyle Nonaka shares a light moment with family and friends before he heads off to prison.

"All rise," the court clerk announced.

The 52-year-old admits he molested a 14-year-old boy on two occasions.

"Mr. Nonaka is, obviously, a well-known member of our community," Leilani Tan, deputy prosecutor, said. "However, with this particular case, your honor, and I'm sure that his family would agree, the acts that he took were egregious."

Nonaka says a male acquaintance of his posed as a girl on, convinced the boy to send a nude picture of himself, and then threatened to post that picture on the Internet if he didn't meet with Nonaka.

The former co-owner of Mitsu-ken Catering on North School Street later pleaded guilty to five counts of sex assault and one count of promoting child abuse.

"I want to apologize to anybody for hurting anybody and for wasting the time of the court," the convicted sex offender said before breaking down in tears. "And I want to tell my friends and my family, I'm really sorry."

Prosecutors wouldn't talk about the investigation into the second man.

"There is an investigation," Tan said. "I can't comment on the status of it."

"He's preyed on kids on high school campuses. He teaches cheerleading and he has access to kids all the time," Eric Seitz, defense attorney, said about the alleged accomplice. "And he set up all these encounters, not only for my client but for other people."

Like many 14-year-old boys, Nonaka's victim was interested in sports and girls.

"After the case was indicted, he struggled with mental health issues, suicide," Tan said.

Nonaka's punishment -- a 20-year prison sentence.

"He's going into an environment where he's going to be very vulnerable and it's going to be very hard time for him," Seitz said. "So I can tell you, I'm terrified for him."

Prosecutors plan to ask for an eight-year minimum prison term when the case goes before the Hawaii parole board.