HAGATNA, Guam >> A former police officer convicted of raping and intimidating women at a brothel in Guam has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
David Manila was convicted last year of helping support a brothel hidden inside a karaoke lounge. Prosecutors said the women there had been enticed from Micronesia and forced into prostitution by Blue House owner Song Ja Cha, who was convicted in 2012 of federal crimes related to human trafficking and prostitution.
In September, a jury found that Manila and another officer, Anthony Quenga, helped to keep the women from fleeing by threatening to arrest them. The men were also found guilty of raping women at the brothel.
The Pacific Daily News reports that Manila was found guilty on 12 charges spanning 48 separate counts. Quenga, convicted on 14 charges comprising 74 counts, will be sentenced Friday.
Superior Court Judge Anita Sukola told Manila at his sentencing Monday that he abused a position of trust and exploited victims who were particularly vulnerable.
Manila’s attorney, Terence Timblin, argued that his client’s only crime was having sex with a prostitute, an admission the officer made in Cha’s trial, and that Manila had nothing to do with forcing women into work at the brothel.
Timblin said Manila was otherwise a commendable police officer.
“Even after all this happened in 2007, 2008, he continued another four years without any wrongdoing or problem whatsoever,” Timblin said.
But witnesses at trial testified that Manila threatened women and in one instance held a woman down and raped her.
Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan, who prosecuted Manila and Quenga, had asked Sukola for the maximum penalty of a life sentence, arguing that his abuses were grave violations of the oath of his badge.
“The threat to arrest, the threat to use their power, which was given to them by the territory — by the people — is how they kept these women in chains,” Quan said.