An expert witness for attorney Ramon K. Quichocho, who is being sued for alleged racketeering, concludes it is unlikely that there was a violation of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct as the record does not support a finding that Quichocho had sex with his then client, who is a complainant in the lawsuit.
Guam attorney Jacqueline Taitano Terlaje stated in her report that there is a lack of clear and convincing evidence to support Jung Ja Kim’s allegations of rape and consensual sex with Quichocho and his wife, Frances.
Terlaje is currently a member and chairperson of the ad hoc disciplinary committee for the Supreme Court of Guam. She was retained by Quichocho to provide a rebuttal opinion.
In her report filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the NMI, Terlaje said she cannot conclude that Quichocho engaged in any unethical conduct based on the facts that are on the record.
Terlaje said that attorney Benjamin M. Abrams’ expert witness report was a limited review of the record, and did not include the volumes of depositions and formal responses provided by Quichocho in the disciplinary proceeding, “all which when taken together as a whole, provide a more objective review of the evidence available.”
Abrams is an assistant attorney general at the Guam Office of the Attorney General. Kim retained him to give an expert opinion in connection with her racketeering lawsuit against Quichocho.
Abrams had concluded that Quichocho not only committed ethical transgressions but likely even criminal acts. He stated that the facts in this case strongly suggest that Quichocho took unfair and unethical advantage of Kim by sexually victimizing her while she was on depression medication.
But in her rebuttal report, Terlaje said that upon a review of the record and applying the standards imposed by the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, it is her opinion that the record does not support a finding of any ethical violation.
“While it is my opinion that [Quichocho] could have exercised better judgments in details, such as confirming in writing, whether formal or informal his hourly fee, avoiding the sharing of office space with non-lawyers, limiting access to email accounts, under the standard imposed by the Commonwealth Supreme Court Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, it is my opinion that this matter lacks clear and convincing evidence of a violation of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct,” Terlaje said.
On the issue of prohibited sexual relationship, Terlaje said that Kim asserted in her deposition that she had consensual sex with Quichocho on more than one occasion and had a three-way with Quichocho and his wife, Frances, on Jan. 1, 2009. In a separate deposition, Kim asserted that Quichocho raped her on at least two occasions in November and December 2008, Terlaje said.
Terlaje said Quichocho denies all allegations of sexual misconduct and that Frances asserts that she was the author behind the emails purporting to be Quichocho in an attempt to catch her husband in an affair with Kim.
Terlaje said the deposition testimonies of Kim, as it relates to the alleged sexual misconduct by Quichocho, shows that this is a circumstance of “he said, she said.”
However, Terlaje said, the lack of immediate report or seeking medical attention, the reports of repeated sex, the report of breakfast with others after being allegedly raped, the inability to know whether Quichocho is circumcised or not, and her admission of lack of memory on whether she did or did not have sex with Quichocho on particular occasions “weighed in respondent’s favor.”
On the email issue, Terlaje said it is highly probable that the statement of Frances is accurate; that in the middle of a troubled marriage, she was suspicious of a female friend who was constantly hanging around her husband, and who shares a relationship with him; that it is highly probable that she attempted to elicit information from Kim by pretending to be Quichocho via emails and texts.
Importantly, Terlaje said, Frances admitted her inappropriate conduct in impersonating her husband in the emails.