Former Hawaiian cop avoids jail time for sexually assaulting 5-year-old child over a period of four years
A former Honolulu police officer who was indicted on multiple Class A felony charges over repeatedly sexually assaulting a young girl will not see any jail time after agreeing to a plea deal with prosecutors. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, 45-year-old Teddy O Van Lerberghe reached an agreement that saw him guaranteed a five-year probation sentence with no jail time, though it will still require him to register as a convicted sex offender for the rest of his life.
An Oahu grand jury indicted Van Lerberghe in 2017 on seven counts of sexual assault on a five-year-old girl. It stated that the sexual assaults had started in 2004 and continued for the next four years, until 2008. Four of those charges were Class A felonies that carried mandatory 20-year prison terms, with the other three Class C felonies were each punishable by up to five years behind bars.
KHON2 previously reported that the 45-year-old had pleaded not guilty to all the charges and that he was free after posting a $100,000 bail. His trial was scheduled this month, though the plea deal renders it unnecessary. The 45-year-old's recent deal with the prosecutors saw the Class A felony charges reduced to four Class B felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison, with the three Class C felonies still retained.
Surprisingly, despite the extent of the charges levied against him, it was reported that it also ensured that Van Lerberghe, who served in the Honolulu Police Department from January 2007 until he was fired in May 2016, would not be spending any time in prison.
Furthermore, the Honolulu Civil Beat reported that the Hawaii state's police union had appealed his termination and that the 45-year-old was awaiting an arbitration proceeding to see if he would be allowed back on the police force, potentially with back pay. It is unclear if the appeal has proved successful. Brooks Baehr, a spokesperson for the Honolulu Department of the Prosecuting Attorney, said they would not be commenting on his case until the former cop was sentenced by a judge this coming August.
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