Guam – Guam Attorney General Lenny Rapadas issued the following statement in response to criticism over the AG’s decision to drop charges last November against Raymond Tedtaotao who was accused of receiving and using a debit card taken from the woman assaulted in the Crown bakery abduction.
The victim in the Crown bakery case, Monique Baza, came out publicly on Monday saying she was “appalled” at the dismissal of the charges against Tedtaotao who was re-arrested last Friay night for the Nimitz Hill home invasion on April 20th during which Tedtaotao is accused of beating a woman unconscious with a gun.
STATEMENT from Attorney General Lenny Rapadas:
Contact with victims and notification is the rule in my office, not the exception. We have a team of dedicated victim witness advocates who, from the moment we receive the police reports are contacting victims, getting contact information and informing them about what happens next.
The law requires notification after the victim has given a written request to us. We take that step out and contact them as soon as we get the case. We do not need a written request.
Crown bakery is currently under litigation while the separate Tedtaotao case is currently under investigation, so we cannot discuss them. Note that Tedtaotao’s credit card and related charges case was dismissed without prejudice.
We have standard operating procedures regarding victim contact and notice. For the most part, they are followed. As I stated earlier, notice and contact is the rule, but that doesn’t mean the rules weren’t followed in some cases.
We only hear about the ones that fall through the cracks. But I want to hear that. Our system works. It’s not perfect, but it works. Can it be tweaked to work better? Of course, it can. No system is perfect.
There is where we as an institution attempt to correct the situation. We are instituting regular training on the Crime Victims Rights Act. We are finding that regular training may be necessary for our prosecution staff and VWAS. As we hire new prosecutors, we want to make certain they know
The courts are requiring advocates be available not only for the adult cases, but also for the family division cases. We have also assigned an advocate to the Family Justice Center in Dededo.
We recently met with the victim in the Crown Bakery case and assured her that the most culpable actor in her case has not been released and we will not agree to any release.
We also had a good, long, wide-ranging discussion not only about her case, but about improving the current system. We discussed current legislation and working with the legislature on passing this like mandatory minimum sentencing on certain classes of crimes.