FSM Consul: Sexual abuse is not acceptable behavior

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FSM consul general Teresa Filepin (PNC file photo)

The FSM Consul General is setting the record straight, disowning statements made by a man who told police that sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl is acceptable behavior in his culture.

Francis Mannaky, a man identified as being of Chuukese descent, told police that in his culture male authority figures have the right to check if their younger female relatives have been touched by a man.

He said this to police after a 12- year-old girl known to him reported that Mannaky had sexually abused her on three separate occasions over the course of two to three years.

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Chuuk is one of the four states which make up the Federated States of Micronesia and according to FSM Consul General Teresa Filepin, while each state has a distinct culture and traditional practices, sexually abusing a minor is not one of them.

“Generally speaking, we have laws in the FSM that prevent or prohibits sexual abuse and criminal conduct so for a 12-year-old that’s a minor we have consent laws in place in all of the FSM states. Sexually abusing a 12-year-old is against the criminal code in the FSM, in all the FSM states,” Filepin said.

She added: “So for somebody to make that statement that this behavior is culturally acceptable, I can assure you that there are laws that prohibit this type of behavior from happening.”

She added that most of their laws, the FSM constitution, and the criminal code were fashioned after US laws so for a 12-year-old to be sexually abused, that is a crime, there is a criminal and the guy should be prosecuted.

“The FSM government does not sanction any criminal activity criminal that its citizens are performing or conducting wherever they move to,” Filepin said.

It has been reported that many individuals incarcerated for criminal sexual conduct at the Department of Corrections have used the same reasoning and excuse as Mannaky.

Filepin said there is already a stigma.

“We really don’t want to compound that even more. Individual behaviors are just that — individual behaviors — and we really want to ensure that people don’t have this stereotype that all Micronesians are like that. That’s the kind of thinking that we really want to move away from. Individual behaviors are individual behaviors and do not necessarily reflect a group of people or a nation in and of itself,” Filepin said.

Mannaky is being held at the Department of Corrections facing charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and family violence.

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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.