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Friday, April 18, 2014

Aging Center staff is allegedly beaten by a co-worker

A 58-year-old staff at the Office of Aging was allegedly traumatized over injuries she suffered at the hands of her then co-worker, who allegedly grabbed her hair and dragged her into their office’s restroom where she continued beating her.

Leonora A. Quitugua, a secretary of the Aging Center director, has been undergoing therapy since then because of the trauma she suffered since the beating that happened on Nov. 8.

Quitugua reportedly sustained swelling, bruises and lacerations on the head. She has yet to report for work since the incident.

The suspect, Ruslyn Carmen Saito, then community development technician at the Office on Aging, was arrested shortly after the incident for assault and battery and disturbing the peace. She posted bail.

Saito, who is in her 30’s, was terminated from her job as a result of the incident, Saipan Tribune learned.

Prior to the beating, Quitugua and Saito had a spat over radio transmissions on portable radios, police said.

At a hearing on Dec. 23, 2013, Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert Naraja dismissed the case without prejudice as police at that time had yet to provide a police report to the Office of the Attorney General.

Dismissal without prejudice means the prosecution can re-file the case in the future.

Eileen Babauta, 40, a school program coordinator, told Saipan Tribune that they had to bring their mother, Quitugua, to the clinic on Nov. 14 because she was experiencing headaches since the alleged beating.

Babauta said her mother had a CT scan and they were referred to the Community Guidance Center for their mother’s counseling and that they go there bi-weekly and as needed.

“I just want justice to be served. My mother did not deserve that beating. No one on this Earth deserved a beating. To top it all, the perpetrator did not show signs of remorse, or empathy, flaunting herself as if she is free,” Babauta said.

She pointed out that this should not have happened as government employees need to feel safe in their work environment.

“I hear that there are some issues with [Department of Public Safety], that the perpetrator is related to the cop. They were lenient and no priorities were made. Nov. 8 to Dec. 23 and no police report?” Babauta asked.

According to a police report obtained by Saipan Tribune, a police officer said he was conducting a routine patrol in Chalan Kanoa on Nov. 8 at 8:55am when he was dispatched to the Aging Center or Man’amko Center in China Town where an assault and battery case was reported.

At the Aging Center, the officer interviewed Quitugua inside the director’s office.

Based on the interview, the officer said that Quitugua was cleaning the director’s office at 8:45am when a staff came in and told her that one of the drivers was calling in from the radio and that the radio was not in the main office.

Quitugua went out, found the radio, and talked to the driver. As she was talking with the driver on the radio, Saito, who was out in the field, interfered on the radio and made some offensive remarks against Quitugua.

Saito told Quitugua to give the radio to someone who knows how to respond to calls.

When Saito later came to the Aging Center, she went straight to Quitugua and allegedly pulled the victim’s hair and dragged her into the ladies’ restroom where she punched and kicked her. Saito then went out of the restroom but returned soon after and continued beating Quitugua.

Saito then left and locked the door. Quitugua waited for a while then came out by shaking the door knob, and called the director, then 911 for police assistance.

A female employee who witnessed the beating told police that she did not help Quitugua because Saito is big and she was afraid she would get hurt instead.

Another female employee told police that she managed to grab Saito from the restroom and then she called her co-worker on the cell phone.

Aging Center director Walter A. Manglona, in his report to the Office of the Attorney General, disclosed that Saito apologized to him and that she admitted hitting Quitugua because she just “lost it.”

Manglona said Saito stated that she was very upset because Quitugua was rude to her and has been acting like a boss at the center.

Manglona then called Attorney General Joey San Nicolas to ask his advice on how to handle the matter. He said San Nicolas came with assistant attorney general Tom Schweiger, who was assigned to handle the case.

Saito was subsequently terminated from her job.

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