A Superior Court jury found former Tinian police officer Melvin Ilo Monkeya guilty yesterday of sexually abusing a then-14-year-old girl inside the Tinian police station in 2008.
Saipan Tribune learned that after deliberating for just two hours, the six jurors reached a unanimous verdict finding the 42-year-old Monkeya guilty of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.
The offense carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The jurors deliberated for an hour Wednesday night and continued their deliberations yesterday.
Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho, who presided over the trial on Tinian, set the sentencing for Jan. 9, 2014.
Monkeya was remanded into the custody of the Department of Corrections in Susupe, Saipan.
Monkeya reportedly showed no emotion when the court staff read the jury’s verdict.
The courtroom was packed. Many of the victim’s family members and relatives cheered and clapped when the verdict was announced.
The victim, who is now 18 years old, collapsed Tuesday morning while testifying for the government. She reportedly has a history of anxiety attacks.
The trial began on Monday.
Chief prosecutor Shelli Neal and assistant attorney general Chemere McField prosecuted the case. Attorney Jennifer Dockter served as court-appointed counsel for Monkeya.
When asked for comment, Attorney General Joey San Nicolas thanked the jury for rendering “a just verdict” and Camacho for presiding over the trial.
“Most importantly, I thank the victims for coming forward and telling their stories, revealing the truth, and helping to hold the defendant accountable for his actions,” San Nicolas said.
Two other alleged sexual assault victims of Monkeya testified for the government on Wednesday. The Office of the Attorney General has not charged Monkeya in connection with the incidents involving the two other alleged victims.
Police detective Therese Kintoki, who testified at the trial, stated in her report that Monkeya took the girl to his office at the Department of Public Safety Tinian building in November 2008, apparently to help her with her truant case.
Kintoki said that Monkeya then threatened the girl that she will be prosecuted and sent with other juveniles to the Northern Islands.
Saying it is a way to test if a victim in a sexual assault case is telling the truth, Monkeya then sexually abused the girl. He then told her not to tell anyone about the incident.
The victim said that she started having anxiety attacks since then and that she faints whenever she thinks back to the incident.