Caldwell man admits abusing his adopted children
By Kristin Rodine
Kekoa Gaunavinaka, scheduled to go on trial Friday for three counts of felony injury to a child, instead entered guilty pleas to two of the charges.
The 35-year-old already faces prison time after a jury found him guilty Wednesday of lewd conduct for molesting a girl over a two-year period starting when she was 11.
Shackled and dressed in orange jail garb Friday, Gaunavinaka calmly described the offenses he admits.
“I broke a branch of a tree from my yard and used that as a means to discipline my sons and left bruises on them, “ he said. “I also used a shower curtain rod to strike them on their bottoms.
“I also pulled their ears a couple times and slapped their faces a couple times when they ignored me. I’ve done some good bruises on them; I think I overdid it on certain occasions.”
Those sons are now 9 and 10 years old, and the admitted abuse spans from January 2007 to April 2009. The charge of abusing a third child was dropped in the plea agreement, but with the provision that the child will be able to give a victim impact statement at Gaunavinaka’s sentencing.
The plea deal does not include a recommended sentence for the child-injury charges, except that the sentence be served simultaneously with the lewd-conduct sentence. A misdemeanor charge of violating a no-contact order will be dismissed.
Gaunavinaka will be sentenced in both cases at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 11. Felony injury to a child is punishable by at least one year and up to 10 years in prison; lewd conduct carries a maximum sentence of life. Third District Judge Bradly Ford also could order him to pay restitution to his victims.
His wife, Kaylinn Gaunavinaka, pleaded guilty in September to one count of felony injury to a child, admitting that she stood by while her husband abused the children. She will be sentenced Jan. 11.
Kaylinn Gaunavinaka told the Statesman she plans to divorce her husband, and she relinquished parental rights so her children can have a better life. The children are being cared for by relatives.