30 Jun 2017
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
ROTA jurors on Thursday found former Police Officer Melvin M. Manglona, 49, not guilty of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.
Assistant Attorney General Teri Tenorio said she was “seriously disappointed” with the verdict.
“After being told numerous times that prosecuting cases in Rota is a waste of taxpayer dollars, I still refuse to believe Rota condones crimes committed against children,” she added.
After deliberating for six hours, the jurors on Thursday at 3:45 p.m. announced their verdict.
Chief Prosecutor Michele Harris said although they are disappointed with the verdict, they will remain vigilant in seeking justice for sexual-abuse victims.
“No victim should suffer in silence,” she added.
Superior Court Judge Joseph Camacho found Manglona not guilty of the lesser charge of one count of disturbing the peace.
The prosecution called to the stand 10 witnesses, including the alleged victim, detectives, a teacher, and a court certified child-abuse,accommodation-syndrome expert.
Manglona’s lawyer, Brien Sers Nicolas, did not call any witnesses.
On Monday the alleged victim recanted her earlier statements and told the court that she had lied to the police and the Attorney General’s Office.
Tenorio said victims who recant are not liars. “They behave according to their circumstances and are merely doing the best they can to survive,” she added.
Regarding the verdict, Tenorio said: “We will continue to support victims who report abuse and we are working diligently to collaborate with all stakeholders to support these child victims and minimize the risks involved in reporting abuse, including prosecuting family members who attempt to obstruct justice.”
She added, “We believed the victim in this case and would never have prosecuted this case if we believed otherwise or did not have her support.”
Manglona was arrested on Aug. 17, 2016 for sexually abusing the alleged victim who said she had been sexually abused by the defendant since she was nine years old.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/96486-jury-finds-melvin-manglona-not-guilty