Former JROTC Instructor Seeks Bail Reduction
A former JROTC instructor for Waimea High School, in custody on sexual assault charges, is seeking a bail reduction.
Currently being held in lieu of $1 million, counsel for Victor Aguilar hopes to reduce bail to $50,000. According to a court filing by Aguilar’s defense attorney Alen M. Kaneshiro, his client cannot afford to post bail. A bail hearing is scheduled this morning, Match 17 in 5th Circuit Court at 9 a.m.
“The purpose of bail is not to punish a person based on the alleged charges by holding them in custody until their trial date, or to pander to the media and community,” Kaneshiro wrote.
Kaneshiro said the 64-year-old has already surrendered his passport. Additionally, if granted the bail reduction, Aguilar would need to put his Kālaheo home up as collateral.
“Defendant would not risk losing his familial home by not complying with court orders or conditions of release, especially for offenses where if convicted, he is eligible for probation,” Kaneshiro stated in the court document.
The US Army veteran was indicted on March 10 over allegations that he had sexual relations with a former student on at least five separate occasions in 2020. Aguilar is facing five counts of second-degree sexual assault, each of which carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.
On March 15, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney filed its opposition to the defense’s request for bail reduction.
“The state is very concerned that the defendant would contact the victim once released in an attempt to influence her testimony,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Keola Siu stated in the court document. “In addition, the state is concerned that the defendant has had access to children both as a teacher and foster parent and if released may engage in a clandestine sexual relationship as he did with the victim in this case.”
Hawai‘i Department of Education began its investigation into Aguilar after alleged misuse of his DOE-issued electronic devices in February.
Aguilar retired as a major from the army in 1995 after 17 years of service. In November 1995, he began working as a JROTC instructor. He resigned from his position in February after he was made aware of the investigation.
Kaua‘i Police Department later obtained search warrants for Aguilar’s DOE-issued laptop, his US Army external hard drive, and his personal cellphone.
“…They (KPD) discovered a number of nude photos and videos of a former student as well as two sexually explicit videos where the former student and defendant are clearly identifiable,” Siu wrote in his opposition. “One of those videos took place in the JROTC classroom and the other took place at the defendant’s residence.”
While Aguilar has surrendered his passport, Siu expressed concern that the defendant would flee within the state or to the mainland due to the severity of his charges.
Michael Maddox, media relations chief for US Army Cadet Command, said the Army has a stringent background check procedure for certification of all of our JROTC instructors and takes the safety of all students seriously.
Maddox said Aguilar has been decertified as a JROTC instructor. An individual’s certification to serve as an Army JROTC instructor is withdrawn upon any findings during an investigation that meets or exceeds the criteria for mandatory disqualification such as sexual offenses, drug felonies, and violent crimes or criminal offenses to a child or children.