Tour bus driver gets 30 years in jail for raping 12-year-old girl

Girl gave birth to a boy in 2015

Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho yesterday slapped a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment against Hank Kenney Peredo Taitano, a 37-year-old tour bus driver who was convicted for raping in 2014 a then-12-year-old girl, who became pregnant and delivered a baby last year.

Camacho ordered Taitano to immediately serve the 30-year jail term day to day without the possibility of parole, early release, and work or weekend release.

Taitano was given credit for time served. He was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Camacho said the victim, her family, and most especially the baby boy have nothing to be ashamed of as in this crime Taitano is 100 percent at fault.

“The pain and hurt of what Hank Taitano did is real, the responsibility for what Hank Taitano did is completely on Hank Taitano. No one else is to blame,” the judge pointed out.

Camacho said with the maximum sentence, Taitano will never hurt anyone anymore for the next 30 years.

Camacho asked the victim and her family to look to each other for love and support.

“Be strong, and love this baby boy with all your heart,” he said. “It is the hope of this court that perhaps for the victim and her family the healing can begin.”

The victim, her mother, and other family members were seen crying in the courtroom during the sentencing.

Camacho said the victim, who is now 14 years old, wrote a hand-written letter detailing the physical and mental suffering she endures because of the sexual abuse and the public ridicule of being impregnated by Taitano.

Camacho said because of the sexual abuse, the victim has considered suicide and that the sexual abuse will affect her for the rest of her life.

The judge said the victim’s mother also wrote a letter, telling how she suffers emotionally yet she does her best to be strong for her daughter as well as for the baby.

Camacho said as the victim’s mother stated in her letter the victim has to be strong for her son…“yes, she will never forget because every time she (victim) looks at her son she thinks of what that monster did to her.”

The victim’s mother asked the court to impose justice for the damage that Taitano has wreaked on the victim and the whole family.

The victim’s stepfather also continues to suffer emotionally and asked the court to impose the maximum possible sentence.

Assistant attorney general Shannon Foley, counsel for the government, recommended the maximum 30-year prison term. Assistant public defender Matthew Meyer, counsel for Taitano, recommended a sentence of 15 years imprisonment.

Marshal and probation officers had to stop the victim’s emotional stepfather, who was pissed off and tried to approach Taitano when the latter addressed the court, basically blaming the girl and stated that, “one day the truth will come out.”

The stepfather, who raised the victim since she was 6 years old, spoke on behalf of the victim or the victim’s family.

According to court records, Taitano fathered four children from different women. The baby adds another child to his list.

When the victim was 12 years old, Taitano, who just came from Japan, sexually abused her. The sexual assault resulted in Taitano impregnating the girl. Nine months later, she gave birth to the baby.

In December 2014, police arrested Taitano.

In June 2015, a Superior Court jury reached a unanimous verdict finding Taitano guilty as to the charge of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.

The girl’s parents learned about the rape when they noticed that the girl’s stomach was getting bigger.

During a checkup on Nov. 28, 2014, the doctor told the mother and her husband that the girl at that time was four months pregnant.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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