Second Guam Officer Gets 30-Years For Blue House Conviction

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Quenga in disbelief, trusted the system to exonerate him

By Gina Tabonares-Reilly

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, April 21, 2014) – Anthony Quenga became the second former police officer sentenced to serve 30 years in jail for involvement in the infamous Blue House kidnapping, prostitution and rape case. During his sentencing on Friday, he addressed the court, maintaining his innocence and expressing disbelief that he ended up in jail.

"I wanted to clear my name. I was told not to worry, everything will be OK. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was hoping a true investigation will take place which will start from the beginning and I was hoping that the truth will set me free but the truth didn’t come out," Quenga told the court.

While looking around the courtroom that was filled with his family, friends and former Guam Police Department colleagues, Quenga said that the during the first days in the 17 months he has spent in jail, he would wake up at 2 a.m., lay in bed and look at his family’s pictures, and before going back to sleep he would think that he was just in a bad dream.

But Quenga was not in a bad dream. According to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan, his acts were not alleged and were proven as a crime by the jury.

Reacting to a plea for leniency from defense attorney Sylvia Stake, who cited the needs of Quenga’s family, specifically his four children, the prosecutor stressed that the victims were not given leniency.

"For eight months they were raped over and over again – 10 men every night. They wanted to leave, but they were not given leniency," Quan said. "Why didn’t he think of his family when he was touching the victims?"

Exemplary

Retired GPD Chief Paul Suba took the witness stand and told the court that Quenga was exemplary as a cop and remembered the defendant’s good work ethic and great personality.

"But all good work can be wiped out by one bad act, and good men can do evil things," the prosecutor said.

Lost in translation

Suba said he has great concern about the case, saying there was a lot of confusion because of a gap in culture and communication between the victims and the accused cops.

When he was asked if he did something to address his concerns, Suba said he presented some letters about his concerns, but he did not want to come out in the open to avoid implications of a coverup.

"During that time, a lot of information could not be shared; we prioritized the criminal case, then the federal charges. There was nothing indicative that (Quenga) would be facing what he would be facing today. If there was something wrong with (Quenga), he must be a good artist to hide it, but there was no indication, not even in his eyes," Suba said.

Suba questioned the truthfulness of the victims’ testimony. No specific dates indicated when the act was committed, expressing dissatisfaction with what was presented during the trial.

"Every day I pray for Tony and his family. I’d like to see what an appeal may bring. ... I am hoping for some kind of miracle here," Suba said.

Prior to Suba’s testimony, a longtime friend of Quenga, James Howard, told the court that the defendant mentored him and provided him guidance for 25 years.

"He is a good man not only to me, but to all the people who know him. He is just a human that can make mistakes, but he shouldn’t be here," Howard said in tears.

Quenga’s sister, Teresita Sablan, said Quenga was a loving brother, great father and a family man who treated everyone with love.

"I just can’t imagine the things that have been charged against him. Everyone in the family if they could come over would ask for leniency because he is a good man," Sablan said, reducing the defendant to tears.

Appeal

Stake indicated that there will be an appeal but she will no longer represent Quenga. Her withdrawal as Quenga’s counsel was granted after the sentencing hearing.

She earlier argued that Quenga could be convicted on one consolidated conspiracy charge and the lesser offenses could be merged into a bigger offense.

She stressed that some of the charges filed against Quenga did not happen in the actual short period of time some of the alleged victims stayed in Blue House.

Stake told the court that when Quenga lost his job and reputation he was already punished.

Quan said it wasn’t enough and the prosecutor pressed for a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

He reiterated the need to send a message to the public that no one is above the law.

"These men violated their oath to protect and serve the weak and vulnerable, and betrayed their community when they assisted Song Cha, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the related federal Blue House human trafficking case. While we have seen other rapists receive longer sentences, these sentences of 30 years' imprisonment imposed upon Manila and Quenga are lengthy," said Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas.

"We must respect the court’s decision and sentencing, and it is our hope that these sentences will bring closure to the victims and send a message to the community, especially law enforcement, that no one is above the law and that this form of sexual exploitation and slavery is not tolerated in the territory of Guam," Rapadas said.

"I also ask that the people of Guam not let the crimes of these former police officers of the Blue House case weaken the people’s faith in law enforcement. I believe that the overwhelming majority of Guam Police Department officers abide by their oath and duty to protect and serve our community in a professional, lawful and ethical manner," he said.

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