LIHU‘E — Victor Aguilar, 65, of Kalaheo, who was arrested on two counts of sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 18 for the purpose of producing child pornography, is making his first court appearance Monday.
Charges against Aguilar were contained in a criminal complaint filed in federal court and unsealed Thursday upon the arrest. Aguilar will make his first court appearance in U.S. District Court on March 29 at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Rom Trader.
The complaint and affidavit allege that Aguilar was his victim’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps instructor, and that he sexually exploited the minor victim in his home, in his vehicle, and at Waimea High School where he worked. Also included in the information contained in those documents is the following:
• Beginning in or around 1995, Aguilar acted as a JROTC instructor at Waimea High School on Kaua‘i, a position from which he recently resigned. The program has included anywhere from 49 to 205 cadets, at times encompassing as much as 20% of the student population. One of Aguilar’s former JROTC students is the victim in the complaint. Photographs and videos recovered from Aguilar’s work-issued laptop and portable hard drive reveal that, in 2020, Aguilar sexually exploited the victim and created videos of this sexual exploitation. The videos form the basis for the federal criminal charges in the complaint;
• An examination of Aguilar’s work-issued laptop and portable hard drive also revealed that Aguilar compiled subfolders of students and/or former students of Waimea High School’s JROTC program, which appear to date from around 2009 until recently, consisting mainly of images that appear to have been pulled from social-media websites.
If indicted and convicted of the offenses in the complaint, the defendant would face a mandatory minimum of 15 years imprisonment and a statutory maximum of 30 years imprisonment on each count.
The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the sentencing judge.
The complaint also notes that on or about March 11, 2021, Aguilar was arrested on a state indictment, brought by the county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, charging him with having sexually assaulted a former student.
The charges and information contained in the federal complaint and state indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, which, as to the federal charges, also requires the filing of the charges in an indictment.
Acting U.S. Attorney Judith A. Philips praised the investigative work of federal Homeland Security Investigations personnel and the Major Crimes Section and the Crime Scene and Laboratory Section of the Kaua‘i Police Department.
She also thanked the county Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, Waimea High School, the state Department of Education equity specialist for the Kaua‘i District, the state DOE, state DOE JROTC Command and state Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services, for their assistance.
“Our main focus is the victims of these heinous crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge of HSI Honolulu John F. Tobon. “Prosecuting predators hopefully brings some comfort to those victimized, and to the community in general.”
The state DOE Kaua‘i District is working to identify individuals whose images were stored on Aguilar’s devices or who otherwise may have been affected by Aguilar’s conduct, and is preparing a letter that will be sent to notify those individuals.
If you or anyone else may have been affected, contact David Dooley, DOE equity specialist, 379-5299, or at 3060 Eiwa St., Room 305, Lihu‘e, in the State Building.
The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Micah Smith and Morgan Early. Smith is a Kaua‘i High graduate.