FBI testimony puts cloud over marshals

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Court spokesman Shawn Gumataotao said the Judiciary of Guam has no knowledge of any facts that would support the allegations alluded to in proceedings before the U.S. District Court of Guam.

A bombshell was dropped several days ago as statements made by the FBI alluded to impropriety happening within the Judiciary of Guam.

FBI agent Rafael Fernandez testified in the District Court of Guam that an FBI informant revealed information not only regarding the alleged illegal activities of Yona Mayor Jesse Blas but also dealings of his alleged associates and former colleagues connected with the Judiciary of Guam (JOG) Marshals.

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The FBI statements indicated that former DOC Deputy Director and JOG Marshal Joey Terlaje were present during an incident at a Yona home where the mayor allegedly punched a woman he was romantically involved with in the face and then held her captive for three days.

The FBI agent also revealed that the informant told the FBI that JOG marshals would engage in sexual acts with individuals who would be otherwise incarcerated in exchange for their freedom.

This revelation, however, appears to be news to the Judicial branch. Court spokesman Shawn Gumataotao stated: “The judiciary of Guam has no knowledge of any facts that would support the allegations alluded to in proceedings before the U.S. District Court of Guam.”

But this is not the first time allegations similar in nature have been weighed against a marshal of the court. The Superior Court of Guam was sued in 2008 as JOG marshal Alan Ecle was accused of sexually harassing another JOG employee, Debbie Perez, between the years 2002 to 2006. The complaint alleged that Ecle made unwanted advances, used intimidation and threatened Perez.

While that case was dismissed in 2012, the District Court of Guam in a decision to deny summary judgement, stated that the Superior Court of Guam “did not commence an investigation, did not speak with the alleged harasser, and rather than make clear that sexual harassment was not tolerated, it seemingly endorsed the allegations as ‘mere horseplay’.”

Ecle was rehired as a JOG marshal last year.

Meanwhile, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero provided comment on the allegations made by the FBI which resulted in the resignation of DOC Deputy Director Joey Terlaje who was also a JOG marshal prior to assuming his post at DOC.

“I respect his decision to resign and take care of his family and move on. That’s basically it. I appreciate that and respect that,” the governor said.

While the governor reassures the staff at DOC that operations will continue and that the leadership will be stabilized, she intends to sit down with DOC Director Sam Brennan upon her return next week to conduct an assessment.

PNC asked the governor: In light of the statements made by the FBI, will the administration be looking into the allegations?

The governor answered: “I don’t know what happened at the court hearing. I wasn’t there and there are no charges made and so I really don’t want to comment in case they are moving forward with investigations.”

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.