GUAM ATTORNEY GENERAL ACQUITTED IN TRIAL

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By Theresa Merto

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 3) - Attorney General Douglas Moylan was acquitted yesterday of family violence charges.

Meanwhile, Governor Felix Camacho, asked whether public money spent on the prosecution was worth it, answered: absolutely.

It has been more than a year since family violence charges were filed against Attorney General Douglas Moylan and intimate, and sometimes, embarrassing details of both his first and second marriages were made public.

But yesterday afternoon, Moylan breathed a sigh of relief after a jury, comprising four women and two men, acquitted him of all six misdemeanor charges in the Superior Court of Guam before Judge Katherine Maraman.

For three and a half weeks, Moylan stood trial on misdemeanor charges after his second, estranged wife Deborah Crisostomo filed a domestic violence complaint against him in July 2003. On September 29, 2003, Special Prosecutor Paul Vernier, who was appointed by Gov. Felix Camacho, filed four charges of family violence and two charges of false statement under oath against Moylan.

Since the charges were filed and throughout the trial, Moylan has maintained his innocence and claimed that it was the two women who abused him, even showing poster boards filled with pictures of his bruises, scratches and bite marks to prove it. In contrast, there was only one picture of Crisostomo with what the defense called a "rug burn" on her leg.

The prosecution portrayed Moylan as a control freak who allegedly belittled Crisostomo and his first wife, Doris Leon Guerrero, and held them down during numerous arguments.

The trial was particularly critical for Moylan -- the island’s first elected attorney general -- because he could have lost his job if he were found guilty of charges of making a false statement in court. In the end, the jury acquitted Moylan of the charges.

During a press conference yesterday afternoon at the law office of his attorney Patrick Civille, Moylan said now that the trial is over, it is time to get "back to work."

"It is a very heart-wrenching process to have your private life taken and put out before the public, on the Internet throughout the world," Moylan said. "And I think there are a very few things that a person can take with them when they pass, and one’s honor and dignity, and respect for those around him, was one of the things I risked losing through this entire process."

"This isn’t like you’re being accused of taking something. This goes to the heart of who you are and how you treat others -- loved ones -- around you," Moylan said. "But it has come to a close and I want to thank my children, my parents, my family members, my friends and those people that have trust in me throughout this over yearlong process."

Moylan said the AG's office will continue prosecuting family violence cases, protect victims and treat perpetrators "fairly in the process of enforcing the family violence laws on Guam."

"What has happened to me, it is not going to detract from the protection of victims, ‘cause family violence does occur and the statistics are still clear, that women are more often victims of it," Moylan said. "But men also, often times, don’t want to report it for various cultural reasons."

"It’s not easy being a juror under the best of circumstances and over the holidays, I think it’s even more difficult. It is also difficult, if you‘re a juror, to listen to long hours of testimony and this jury did a very good job of staying attentive," Civille said.

Moylan has said the case was politically motivated, and when asked yesterday whether the defense still believes the case was political, Civille said, "It is hard from our side not to feel that way."

"Certainly Doug has stepped on some pretty powerful toes. He’s challenged some entrenched interests. So it is hard from our point of view, it is hard not to feel that there were political overtones in this prosecution."

"What did come out in the trial is that family violence is something that happens to both -- not just to women, but to men as well," Civille said. "Maybe there is some more awareness, that men can be victims of family violence also."

Vernier is off island, but an attorney in his office who handled much of the pretrial hearings in the Moylan case had a written statement.

Attorney Louie Yanza said, "We presented the evidence to the jury. The jury weighed the evidence and deliberated and reached a unanimous verdict, and we respect the jury's decision."

The governor, interviewed shortly after the acquittal was announced, said: "Well, it's a trial by jury and they made their decision. I think that pretty much settles it."

Camacho said he simply followed the law when he appointed Vernier as a special prosecutor and that it was the AG’s office that advised him to do so.

When asked whether he believes the case was worth spending thousands of dollars in public funds on, Camacho responded, "Absolutely. You can ask the same question to the attorney general, who has prosecuted cases against high-ranking government officials who have been similarly acquitted."

When asked whether he agrees with the jury’s decision, Camacho said, "I’m in no position to agree or disagree. It was the jury that sat in on everything and heard everything and they made their decision."

January 4, 2005

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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