22 Mar 2018
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
SEXUAL assault charges against one of two men accused of raping a 52-year-old woman in February were dismissed without prejudice on Friday.
Superior Court Judge Joseph N. Camacho found no probable cause to charge Jaime Always, 46, with committing two counts of sexual assault in the first degree.
The judge dismissed the case against Always without prejudice, saying the government failed to prove the essential element of sexual penetration. “Without prejudice” means that the government can re-file the case.
Always was ordered released from the Department of Corrections.
“This is the failure of the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Safety to properly investigate and determine what type of sex occurred,” the judge said.
He noted that that the testimony of the lead detective stated that there was no sexual penetration.
The alleged victim reported that the two defendants — Always and Weiner Sony — raped her.
But the detective also testified that when the alleged victim was asked what she meant by “rape,” she replied that “rape” means being “scared and frightened.”
Always and Sony both claimed having consensual sex with the alleged victim.
Assistant Attorney General Teri Tenorio appeared for the government at the hearing on Friday while Chief Public Defender Douglas Hartig and Assistant Public Defender Heather Zona represented Always.
In a statement, Tenorio said the Office of the Attorney General believes there was more than sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause in this case.
“Prosecutors have an ethical obligation to refrain from filing charges without a good faith and reasonable belief that there is probable cause and the likelihood of prevailing at trial,” she said.
“‘Probable cause’ simply means there is sufficient evidence that an offense may have been committed and the defendant committed the offense.
“Here, an investigation took place, and testimony was presented to the court to reasonably establish that a sexual assault in the first degree took place.”
Tenorio said sexual assault and sexual abuse cases are some of the most serious acts of violence faced by the community, particularly women and children.
“Given the gravity of the offenses charged in this case, the safety concerns for this victim, and the evidence to support a good faith belief that the defendant committed the acts, charges were filed. We will continue to support this victim and pursue justice,” she added.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103097-court-dismisses-sexual-assault-charges-against-jaime-always