Hana doctor convicted of sexual assault sentenced to 30 days in jail

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His sentence is on hold as he plans to appeal

WAILUKU — A Hana doctor was sentenced to a 30-day jail term as part of one year’s probation after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman by inappropriately touching her while he was at her home to provide medical treatment.Curtis Bekkum, 47, won’t have to immediately serve the jail term while the sentence is on hold because he and his attorney said there would be an appeal in the case.

During a hearing Thursday, 2nd Circuit Judge Peter Cahill said that by this afternoon, Bekkum could post $1,000 bail or turn himself in at the Maui Community Correctional Center. Bekkum was ordered to report to the probation department Thursday to provide required information to register as a sex offender.

In a trial in July, a jury found Bekkum guilty as charged of two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree sexual assault of the woman on Sept. 29 and 30, 2017, when he went to her residence in Haiku.

She testified Bekkum went to her house the night of Sept. 29 to give her an injection as part of treatment that was supposed to help her degenerative back condition. He had her take off her clothing and wear a paper surgical gown, she said.

After Bekkum gave her the injection, he asked if she was OK while reaching under the gown and touching her breast with his right hand while his other hand went toward her pubic area, she testified.

She said he returned to her house the next night and she had turned her back on him in the kitchen when he rubbed his private parts against her while they both were clothed.

During a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Teshima recommended a jail term of at least 30 days and probation for Bekkum.

He was in a position of authority and trust as a doctor when he “under the guise of medical treatment, manipulated the complaining witness into a vulnerable position,” Teshima said.

After reporting what happened, the woman has suffered retaliation and ostracization from community members, as well as late-night threatening phone calls, Teshima said. He said she had to leave Maui “out of fear for her safety.”

In a report prepared for the sentencing, Bekkum was “lacking in remorse,” Teshima said.

“Instead of reflecting on his own behavior, we see every attempt to victim bash,” Teshima said. “He hides behind his title as a doctor. This is a guy willing to throw everybody under the bus rather than reflect on himself.”

Defense attorney Hayden Aluli, who was hired by Bekkum after the trial, said the defendant’s lack of prior criminal history “should be weighed heavily” in sentencing.

Aluli asked for Bekkum to be sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service with any jail term suspended.

Bekkum declined to speak in court Tuesday because he is appealing.

Judge Cahill said the prosecution’s request for jail as part of probation was “very fair.”

He noted that when the victim testified, she was “vigorously questioned” by Bekkum’s former attorney, who asked about her past, medical issues, her sexual history and prior marriages.

“It was a brutal cross-examination,” Cahill said. “She withstood the barrage of questions that were put to her. The jury had every opportunity to assess not only her credibility but her demeanor.

“The jury returned its verdict. It is to be respected.”

Cahill said some studies show many similar offenses are “power issues.”

“In many instances, there is no physical contact whatsoever,” he said. “Sometimes the psychological impact can be far harsher than any physical impact, as I think it was in this particular case.”

Bekkum was ordered to have no contact with the victim.