Man accused of sexual abuse of a minor gets 5 years in jail

Defendant given credit of 50 days for time served

A 29-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl twice last year, entered a guilty plea yesterday in the Superior Court and was slapped with the maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

Kevin Jason Kaipat signed a plea deal with the government and pleaded guilty to the offense of sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree.

Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho accepted the plea agreement and sentenced Kaipat to the maximum of five years imprisonment to be served day for day, without the possibility of parole, probation, early release, and work release.

Kaipat was given credit of 50 days for time served. He was ordered to pay a $25 court cost, register with the CNMI Sex Offender Registry, and submit to examinations focusing on sex offender counseling.

The defendant, through counsel, made an oral request to surrender himself to the Department of Corrections on Sept. 6, 2016. Assistant attorney general Shannon Foley, counsel for the government, objected to the request.

Camacho denied Kaipat’s request. The judge told the defendant that he has pled guilty to the charge and that he is no longer presumed innocent.

Camacho said the Department of Corrections is not a hotel and defendant does not choose when to check in and out.

After the hearing, the judge ordered the court marshal to take Kaipat back into the custody of DOC to start serving his sentence.

The Office of the Attorney General originally charged Kaipat with sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.

The OAG yesterday moved to amend the information by dismissing the charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, an offense that carries the maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment.

The OAG requested to charge Kaipat instead with sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

AAG Foley said after careful review of the investigative reports and the applicable legal authority, the government seeks to amend the charge.

Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig and assistant public defender Cindy Nesbit, counsel for Kaipat, did not object.

Camacho granted the motion to amend.

Foley said the victim supported the terms of the plea deal.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, Kaipat unlawfully engaged in sexual contact with the girl when he fondled her private part on Sept. 8, 2015 on Saipan.

Police said Kaipat sexually abused the girl twice in Dandan and in Kagman in 2015.

Police said the girl stated that the first incident happened at a house in Dandan after Typhoon Soudelor struck Saipan in August 2015.

The girl also told police that the second incident happened inside a tent that was given by the American Red Cross at a house in Kagman last Sept. 8.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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