HONOLULU (KHON2) — Former Maui police officer Brandon Saffeels has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted child enticement, a crime he committed while he was about to serve another sentence.
Saffeels was arrested in December after a sting operation that netted other sexual predators. Prosecutors said he contacted an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl online, and offered to pay her for sex. At that time Saffeels had just been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for soliciting sex from a woman that he had arrested. He wound up pleading guilty to both crimes.
According to sentencing guidelines, Judge Leslie Kobayashi could have added another two and a half years to that 10-year sentence but she decided against it, so Saffeels will have to serve the minimum 10 years.
Saffeels was in tears as he spoke to the judge on Thursday, saying that being in custody has given him a different outlook and wants to do better for his family. “I truly believe that that I’m a completely different man from last year,” he said.
The judge seems to agree saying, “I see somebody very different today… Mr. Saffeels you’re at a crossroads in your life.”
“He realized the way he was thinking was not proper and he took that into account and while he’s been sitting in jail waiting for this day, he’s factored all that and he has looked deep inside himself,” said John Schum, Saffeels’ attorney.
Saffeels’ actions as a police officer could wind up costing Maui County taxpayers. Three women have filed a lawsuit against the county.
“These women truly were terrified. I mean the look in their eye when they were coming forward, they were terrified as well, the repercussions of a policeman, it’s a small community,” said attorney Michael Green, who represents the women.
Green said he has had settlement discussions with Maui County but both sides are still far apart.
“So if not, we’ll just go and try the case,” he said.
Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page
We’ve reached out to Maui county and a spokesman declined to comment.