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United States v. Reyes Pizarro

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

July 20, 2018




         This matter arises out of an indictment filed against Defendant Leonardo Delos Reyes Pizarro (“Defendant”) on November 21, 2017. Defendant plead guilty, pursuant to a plea agreement, to one count on March 12, 2018. Defendant filed objections to the draft presentencing investigation report filed on May 10, 2018. As a result, an evidentiary hearing was held on July 12 and 13, 2018 regarding (1) the factual issue of whether the victim's testimony is credible as to Defendant knowingly using force and/or fear under 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) and/or § 2242, and (2) whether the Government carried its burden of proof as to the factual issue.

         The Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law are as follows:

         1. At the evidentiary hearing, Plaintiff the United States of America (“the Government”) called one witness, known by her initials as “D.Y.” and who is the victim in the instant offense, and Defendant called two witnesses, Juliana Stoaks (“Stoaks”) and Francis Pelante (“Pelante”).

         2. All three witnesses testified truthfully and gave credible testimony.

         3. Defendant and the three witnesses, as of October 27, 2017, were all employees of the Pride of America, which is a United States flagged vessel, and operates as a cruise ship.

         4. Defendant and Pelante shared a cabin on the cruise ship in which there were two bunks.

         5. Defendant's cabin had tight quarters with two bunks consisting of one bunk that has a single-sized bed mattress and the other which is a double bunk bed with a single-sized bed mattress on each level, and all of the bunks each have privacy curtains which can be drawn around the bunk. [Defendant's Ex. 5-6, 9-10, 12].

         6. There is about 21 inches between the single and double bunk beds.

         7. Pelante's bed was the single bunk, and Defendant's bed was the lower bed of the double bunk bed.

         8. Earlier on October 27, 2017, the date of the offense, D.Y. and Defendant had made plans to meet in Defendant's cabin.

         9. On October 27, 2017, D.Y. voluntarily entered Defendant's cabin.

         10. Stoaks and Pelante were already in the cabin and in Pelante's bed with the curtains drawn across the bed when D.Y. entered Defendant's cabin.

         11. D.Y. knew that Pelante and Stoaks were in Pelante's bed when she entered the cabin, believed that they were sleeping, and knew that Stoaks would need to wake up in order to report to work at 10:00 p.m.

         12. D.Y. testified that Defendant closed the curtains around his bunk and slid her into his bed. He proceeded to kiss her and to pull at her clothing, and then to take off some of her clothing and repeatedly touched her breast and vagina.

         13. D.Y. resisted and continuously told Defendant “no” and to stop but he did not.

         14. D.Y. felt paralyzing fear because of Defendant's actions in kissing her, taking off her clothes and touching her breast and vagina after she resisted his touch and told him “no”, inserting his fingers, mouth and then his penis in her vagina, and she continuously resisted, tried to squeeze her legs shut so that he could not access her vagina, and repeatedly stated that she wanted him to stop.

         15. D.Y. was unable to get up off the bed and leave because Defendant held her thigh down and was on top of her using his body weight so that she could not get up.

         16. D.Y. felt paralyzing fear when Defendant pulled her legs apart and inserted his penis into D.Y.'s vagina.

         17. D.Y. heard Stoaks' alarm ring and heard noises that she interpreted as Stoaks waking up and getting ready for work.

         18. Pelante and Stoaks were in Pelante's bed with the curtains drawn when they heard D.Y. enter the cabin, and they were not surprised that she came to the cabin and met Defendant.

         19. After D.Y. entered the cabin and until Stoaks' alarm rang, neither Pelante nor Stoaks left Pelante's bed or opened the curtains drawn around Pelante's bed.

         20. Pelante and Stoaks heard kissing and other sounds which they believed were consistent with sexual activity taking place in Defendant's bed, and they believed Defendant and D.Y. were having consensual sex.

         21. If Pelante felt that something wrong was occurring, he would have left his bed and taken some kind of action to stop it because he was taught in the armed forces to do so.

         22. After her alarm rang, Stoaks got up from Pelante's bed and walked past Defendant's bed but did not see anything because the curtains were drawn around it and went into the bathroom to get ready for work.

         23. After Defendant withdrew his penis from D.Y.'s vagina, he released his hold on her thigh and was no longer pressing down on her with his body weight, and D.Y. got out of Defendant's bed and left the cabin.

         24. Stoaks and Pelante never spoke to D.Y. nor saw her face-to-face during the time that D.Y. was in Defendant's cabin.

         25. On October 29, 2017, two days after the offense occurred, D.Y. underwent a sexual assault medical examination and was observed to have two red marks on her chest area below her breasts. [Def.'s Ex. 3.]

         26. D.Y. believes that the marks were caused by her bra being pressed down on her when Defendant was using his body weight to hold her down on October 27, 2017.

         27. D.Y. did not notice the marks prior to the medical examination although she does look at her body every day.

         28. On November 21, 2017, Defendant was indicted on five counts: Aggravated Sexual Abuse-Force, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a)(1)(Count 1), Sexual Abuse-Fear, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2242(a)(1) (Count 2), Abusive Sexual Contact-Force, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2244(a)(1)(Count 3), Abusive Sexual Contact-Fear, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2244(a)(2)(Count 4), and Abusive Sexual Contact-Without Permission, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(Count 5). [Dkt. no. 19.]

         29. Defendant entered a plea of Not Guilty to all counts at his arraignment on November 21, 2017. [Dkt. no. 18.]

         30. He withdrew his previous plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty to Abusive Sexual Contact-Without Permission, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(Count 5) on March 12, 2019 (dkt. no. 54) and thus has admitted to committing the ...

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