More Blue House victims have said that police officers visited the brothel, and that the brothel owner frequently threatened them with arrest, according to recently released federal court transcripts.
The transcripts include the testimony of seven women who were forced into prostitution at the lounge. Five of these victims testified that Blue House owner Song Ja Cha said, if they tried to run away, police officers would hunt them down.
Each of these victims was lured from Chuuk by the promise of a high-paying job in a restaurant, but instead found the Blue House brothel. They believed Cha’s threats because they “didn’t understand the rules of this land,” one victim said.
“She was always scaring us with the police, she always use the police as a weapon,” said one victim, according to the testimony transcripts. “Like if we do something, she will call the police — her best friend.”
This testimony was given during a District Court of Guam trial in 2011, but the transcripts weren’t filed in federal court until this week. The Office of the U.S. Attorney asked the courthouse to prepare the transcripts in November.
The Blue House lounge was a brothel masquerading as a karaoke bar in Tamuning from 2004 to 2008. After the federal trial in 2011, Cha was sentenced to life in prison. However, now a second trial is expected in local court, where three police officers have been accused of assisting the brothel.
The officers are Anthony Quenga, Mario Laxamana and David Manila, who also was a witness in the federal trial. The officers were indicted after a series of Guam Blog stories prompted the police department to reopen their investigation into Blue House.
It is unclear how the local trial will proceed, but the federal trial provides a glimpse as to what the victims might say on the stand.
Three of these seven victims said they saw police officers at the Blue House, according to the recently released testimony transcripts. Cha said the officers were her ‘friends,” so the women were scared by her threats of arrest, they said.
“I do believe her because she had police friends that they used to come to her place,” said one victim, according to the transcripts. “She said that’s her friends. They are really nice to her.”
None of the officers are identified in the new transcripts.
“They come dressed — there is a couple of them that will dress in black, and some were in black uniform or blue uniform,” said another victim, according to the testimony transcripts.
Two of the victims testified that, on the first night they arrived at Blue House, they were forced to sign a document that said police would come find them if they ran away. Cha would later use these documents to control the women, according to the testimony of yet another victim.
“She always told me that when I do something bad, she would ask me ‘You want me to call the police on you?'” the woman testified.
In total, the new transcripts cover the testimony of eight victims. Three of those victims made no statements about police during their testimony. The eighth victim said that Cha took her passport, but that she didn’t work at Blue House because the brothel owner did not like her appearance.
These testimony transcripts add to the Blue House details that have already been revealed by courtroom recordings and internal police documents.
Eseun identified those officers as “Tony,” “Mario” and a third officer whom she described as “chubby.” It is now believed that these are the same police officers who have been indicted in federal court.
Threat of arrest
The courtroom recordings also included testimony from another Blue House victim, who was only 17 when she was forced into prostitution. This victim said a police officer once threatened to arrest her if she did not obey Cha.
Federal prosecutors believed that this was Officer Manila, according to court documents. Although Manila is facing life in prison today, he was only a witness in the federal trial.
During the federal trial, Manila testified that he once had sex with a Blue House employee in private after buying a “ladies drink.” Manila also testified that he “advised” a Blue House worker that she could not leave the lounge until she had paid off debts to Cha.
Despite Manila’s testimony, the officer was never prosecuted by the Office of the U.S. Attorney, who took the lead on the Blue House case. The Office of the U.S. Attorney never filed charges against any other officers either, despite the fact that federal prosecutors were in possession of documents describing the allegations against these officers — and their full names.
U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco has repeatedly declined to comment on the Blue House case. Limtiaco has said she can’t comment on matters that “may be” under investigation.
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