Blue House Accused Plead Not Guilty In Guam Court

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Cha’s defense alleges issues with conspiracy, sexual conduct charges

By Gina Tabonares-Reilly

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, August 8, 2013) – For the fourth time, Blue House lounge owner Song Ja Cha and Guam Police Department officers David Q. Manila and Anthony T. Quenga entered not guilty pleas to 17 charges contained in the fourth superseding indictment brought by a Superior Court grand jury.

Manila and Quenga, through their counsels Terence Timblin and Sylvia Stake, appeared at the same time before Magistrate Judge Alberto Tolentino and waived the reading of the latest indictment, requested for a jury of 12, and asked for copies of additional discoveries, if any.

Their co-defendant, Cha, was arraigned after a second call with her lawyer Mark Kondas and interpreter Ye-Kyoung Kim-Palomo.

Cha pleaded not guilty to the fourth superseding indictment that has the same 17 charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping, conspiracy to commit felonious restraint, conspiracy to compel prostitution, compelling prostitution, conspiracy to promote prostitution, promoting prostitution, first degree criminal sexual conduct, second degree criminal sexual conduct, attempted first degree criminal sexual conduct, attempted second degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal intimidation, and official misconduct.

The superseding indictment was filed last week to correct some information on one of the victims mentioned in charges 12, 13, 14, and 15.

The three defendants were all scheduled to appear before Judge Anita Sukola on Aug. 19 at 9 a.m. for a pre-trial conference and motion hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Vasiliades suggested the appearance of the defendants during the scheduled jury selection for the case but Judge Tolentino mentioned that the date was specifically requested by the presiding judge.

The motion hearing will deliberate the defense motion to dismiss the conspiracy and criminal sexual conduct charges.

According to the defense, the conspiracy charges are "flawed" because the prosecution did not charge Cha as a principal while the criminal sexual conduct charges should be dismissed because the people identified an incorrect date of birth.

But Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan said the date of birth issue was already corrected in the latest indictment. He added that the charging of the principal or other alleged co-conspirators is not required in conspiracy indictments.

The alleged crimes committed by the defendants in the case occurred between April 2006 and January 2008 and lists up to 10 female victims who were subjected to prostitution at the Blue House Lounge.

A third police officer previously named in the case, Mario Laxamana, already pleaded guilty and agreed to fully cooperate with prosecutors as well as testify when his co-defendants go to trial.

Laxamana pleaded guilty to felonious restraint as a third-degree felony and official misconduct as a misdemeanor while prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining charges.

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