HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Three Guam police officers allegedly involved in a brothel where Micronesian women and a 16-year-old girl were forced into prostitution are facing additional charges.
According to the Pacific Daily News (http://is.gd/ovdNii), the three officers now are facing kidnapping charges.
The new indictment in the Blue House case adds seven new charges, including some with as many as a dozen counts, the paper reports. One officer is charged with rape. All five suspects in the case are set to go to trial during the first week in January. They face more than 60 counts on 26 separate charges.
The brothel was run out of six rooms in a bar called the Blue House Lounge, which was open from 2004 to 2008. The bar's 70-year-old owner, Song Ja Cha, was sentenced to life in prison in September for the sex trafficking scheme.
Two witnesses testified that officers visited the Blue House three times a week.
Prosecutors presented their case to a grand jury in secret on Friday. The new indictment was circulated later to attorneys in the case during a Superior Court of Guam hearing.
Defense attorneys have argued the government had a three-year window to prosecute the officers for their alleged crimes, but Assistant Attorney Nelson Werner said this window remains open as long as the suspects are still officers.
Werner pointed to a section of Guam law that affects government employees. The section states that, if the alleged crime is "based upon misconduct in office," the statute of limitations doesn't expire as long as the employee still has the same job.
The defendants' lawyers are trying to get the case dismissed. They argue that the government took too long to indict the officers for their alleged crimes and that the officers were brought to court too slowly after their arrest.
Judge Anita Sukola has not yet made a decision on any of the motions to dismiss.