EXCLUSIVE: Maui minister arrested for child sex assault
WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Maui minister is behind bars and charged with sexually assaulting a young child.
Dennis DeRego fainted in court Tuesday afternoon during a bail hearing while his attorney asked the judge to let him out of jail on supervised release. DeRego was rolled out on a wheelchair and loaded onto an ambulance.
DeRego was arrested on Friday after a Maui grand jury indicted him earlier in the week on ten different charges. The charges against him include eight counts of sexual assault of a minor, ranging from first degree to fourth degree, and two counts of promoting child abuse in the second degree.
Other ministers on Maui who know him are stunned.
"It was obviously shocking to have a man of his stature, and obviously touching the lives of many people, to have him arrested," said Reverend Laki Kaahumanu.
Kaahumanu says he has worked alongside DeRego for many years because they both conduct weddings on the beach. He says ministers should be held to a higher standard.
"We as ministers have to be held accountable to what we know...and if we just put an outward appearance on the outside that we are teachers, we are lawyers, we're a judge, we are president, mayor, pastor, whatever...it's just an outward appearance," Kaahumanu said.
According to DeRego's website, he is a non-denominational ordained minister and founder of Aloha Nohea Church which he started in 1997. On the site he's referred to as warm and gentle who will bring aloha to any couple's wedding.
The indictment says he sexually assaulted the child for over the course of a year.
The judge denied DeRego's attorney's request for supervised release, but did grant his bail reduction. His bail was originally set at $226,000 dollars. Now it's at $126,000.
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