Guam – More damaging testimony today in the Blue House prostitution trial. The second victim to testify, Martha Well, clearly identifies police officer Anthony Quenga in the courtroom as the cop who threatened to arrest her if she didn’t obey Mamasan, or Song Ja Cha.
Quenga is one of the two police officers–the other Officer David Manila–on trial for his alleged role in the prostitution ring that victimized several Chuukese women for years.
The prosecution bounced back today after the defense yesterday challenged witness’ claims of being victims of a prostitution ring. Today Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Quan called to the stand a second victim whose testimony could solidify the prosecution’s argument that police officers were just as guilty as Song Ja Cha, the mastermind who’s already serving a life sentence in federal prison for the same crimes.
Martha Well testified that she not only was forced to have sex with customers and assaulted by the bar owner Cha or Mamasan, but was threatened by the very same people she expected would protect her—a police officer. Well was recruited from Chuuk to Guam in July 2007.
On her third day at Blue House, she was ordered to entertain her first customer. But Well says once in the VIP room, she refused to have sex with him. The man complained to Mamasan who then turned her anger on Well.
“When mamasan got mad at me and she told me to go on my knees and to ask for apology [sic] and I didn’t do it,” says Well, through an interpreter. “Mamasan take [sic] one of her zories and slapped me on the face with it.”
She continued: “So then she told me better do what she told me to do or she gonna [sic] call the police, and it’s too late because she already called the police.”
The police did arrive, according to Well–two of them. One she described as tall and skinny who went directly to Cha. The other police officer counseled Well, she says, speaking through another coworker who interpreted what he said to her.
“You have to try to be a nice, good worker and do what mamasan said [sic] because mamasan, she’s a good person and if you don’t do, we’ll arrest you and take you away,” Well said the officer told her.
Asked if she remembered what that police officer looked like, Well said yes. When asked if he was in the courtroom, again, she said yes. But when asked to point him out, Well quivered, lowering her voice as she spoke. She described him as the man wearing a black shirt. Quan later asked Judge Anita Sukola to let the record reflect that Well identified defendant Anthony Quenga.
Well says this was the only time that a police officer threatened her, but it was not the only time that police officers visited the Blue House lounge. In fact, she says, the times she did observe police officers in the bar, they were in uniform, drinking beer.
Eventually, Well says she began having sex with customers out of fear. Asked why she didn’t immediately try to escape, Well says she had nowhere to go and could barely speak English. After several months of working at Blue House, however, Well said she later escaped with the help of a Filipino contractor, now her husband, Danny.
The two police officers are facing numerous prostitution, kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct charges. Cha’s trial in local court will happen separately. Trial resumes tomorrow afternoon.