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Monday, April 21, 2014

No prison term for CUC staff who installed illegal water connection

A Commonwealth Utilities Corp. employee who was convicted of installing an illegal water connection to his house has dodged prison time, with his sentence converted to community service.

Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja sentenced Paul King Manglona on Tuesday to two years in prison, all suspended except for three months and 10 days. Naraja, however, converted the three months and 10 days prison term to 2,150 hours of community service.

Manglona, 39, was required as his community service, to research and write a report about Down’s syndrome, to be submitted to court on or before March 3, 2014.

He was ordered to make presentation about what Down syndrome program Oregon has offered and whether a similar program can be implemented in the CNMI.

Manglona was placed on probation for three years and required to pay a $300 probation fee, $100 fine, and $25 court costs.

Naraja expressed interest about Down syndrome after Chief Public Defender Douglas W. Hartig, counsel for Manglona, told court that Manglona’s 14-year-old stepson is afflicted with the syndrome.

Hartig said that Manglona is credited with having a major impact on the improvement of his stepson’s ability to progress in spite of his affliction.

Manglona used to stay in Oregon.

The Office of the Attorney General had charged Manglona with theft of utility services, theft of service, and criminal mischief. Manglona pleaded guilty last month to theft of utility services as pat of a plea deal.

According to the indictment, Manglona, while employed by CUC, tampered with his water meter, installed an illegal water connection, and stole $527.24 in water services from August 2012 to March 2013.

At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, assistant attorney general James B. McAllister recommended the full maximum sentence of two years imprisonment without the possibility of parole, early release, or similar programs.

McAllister said this is necessary to deter Manglona and other CUC employees and customers from committing similar crimes in the future.

“Such sentence is in line with the longstanding legislative intent of protecting the ‘health, safety, and welfare’ of the community,” McAllister said.

He also pointed out that Manglona, in June 2011, was convicted of obstructing justice and was sentenced to three months in prison, all suspended except for two days, for disobedience and assault of a police officer.

McAllister said that Manglona has abused his position of employment and the trust of the people of the Commonwealth for his own benefit.

Hartig, counsel for Manglona, said any sentence in excess of a suspended imposition of sentence “would be injustifiable, counterproductive and unjust.”

Hartig said the victim, CUC, has been made whole by getting restitution and being given a sincere apology that was accepted.

He said the defendant has been punished by his employer by getting leave without pay for 30 days and by the court now by being a convicted felon.

Hartig said CUC wants Manglona to continue working and that in spite of this case, Manglona continues to work for CUC.

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