Teacher found guilty of sex as­saults on girl

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL - By Nel­son Daran­ciang ndaran­ciang@starad­ver­tiser.com

Jef­fer­son Ele­men­tary School teacher Michael A. Wright faces a manda­tory 20-year prison term at sen­tenc­ing in March for sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a girl from the time she was 11 un­til the day be­fore she turned 16.

Six­teen is the age of con­sent un­der Hawaii law.

A state jury found Wright guilty Thurs­day of one count of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault and two counts of third-de­gree sex­ual as­sault.

The girl was not a Jef­fer­son Ele­men­tary stu­dent.

Wright, 35, was charged with two counts of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault and three counts of third-de­gree sex­ual as­sault.

The jury found him guilty as charged of one first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault charge cov­er­ing the pe­riod when the girl was 14 to the day be­fore her 16th birth­day, guilty of the lesser third-de­gree in­stead of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault charge from when the girl was 11 but un­der 14, and guilty as charged for another third-de­gree sex­ual as­sault charge but not guilty of two other third-de­gree sex­ual as­sault charges for the same pe­riod.

De­fense lawyer Wil­liam Har­ri­son said he and Wright are con­sid­er­ing ap­peal­ing based on the jury’s seem­ingly in­con­sis­tent ver­dicts.

Wright de­nies sub­ject­ing the girl to sex or sex­ual con­tact. He and the girl gave op­pos­ing tes­ti­mony, forc­ing the jurors to choose which one to be­lieve.

The state Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion said Wright has been on un­paid leave since his ar­rest on Sept. 6, 2016. Honolulu po­lice ar­rested him dur­ing school hours.

HPD

Michael A. Wright

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