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Kauai man charged with rape pleads guilty to assault

March 10, 2019

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — A Kauai man charged with rape and kidnapping has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault.

Robert Bihm initially faced up to 70 years in prison after he was accused of attacking his ex-girlfriend over several hours at his family’s mountain cabin in Kokee on Jan. 14, 2018. But prosecutors offered Bihm a plea bargain when it became apparent their witness wouldn’t take the stand, The Garden Island newspaper reported Friday.

The ex-girlfriend told a grand jury Bihm beat and sexually assaulted her until she was on the verge of losing consciousness.

“I saw like black and white, just the room seemed like it was going to fade away. Just woozy, I was dizzy. I’m sure I had a concussion at that point,” she said, according to a transcript of the grand jury proceedings.

Hours later, she saw an opportunity to escape.

“He had been drinking a whole bottle of vodka during this whole incident, a whole bottle of champagne and beer. And he fell asleep,” she said. “When he started snoring, I reached with my toes and I found my shorts.”

The witness said she was eventually able to muster the strength to stand and grab her keys from the bedroom. She let herself out of the cabin’s side door and drove down the hill to the emergency room at Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

The witness recanted her grand jury testimony less than three weeks later.

Prosecutors filed further charges, alleging Bihm repeatedly violated a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting his ex-girlfriend and threatened her on the day she testified before the grand jury. He pleaded no contest to violating a restraining order and was sentenced to a year in jail.

The second charge — terroristic threatening — was dropped. The woman sent a letter withdrawing her complaint in that case as well.

The Associated Press typically does not identify people who say they’re victims of sexual assault.

Bihm’s defense attorney, Emmanuel Guerrero, said the rape and kidnapping allegations were dropped because they were baseless to begin with. He said his client doesn’t deny physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, as he threw something against the wall and it hit her. But Guerrero called the rape allegations a “total fabrication.”

Guerrero repeatedly denied there is any substance to accusations that Bihm or his family threatened the victim or coerced her into refusing to testify.

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Information from: The Garden Island, http://thegardenisland.com/