Court drops civil action for rape case

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Posted on Oct 04 1999

Saying the case was barred by the two-year statute of limitation period, Superior Court Judge Juan T. Lizama dismissed on Friday a civil lawsuit brought against the government and an immigration officer by an alien worker who was raped by an immigration officer in 1996.

Lawyer Joe Hill filed the civil action on behalf of Zhang Gui Juan following the conviction of her assailant, who was criminally charged and convicted of rape.

Also named defendant in the civil action aside from the CNMI government, was the convict’s immediate superior Tricia Aguon.

Zhang said the defendants were negligent of their duty to guard and protect her while she was in the custody of immigration agents.

Zhang originally filed the civil action in the US District in March 1998.

In a Nov. 14, 1998 decision, the federal court dismissed the case saying it was a “novel and complex issue” that should be addressed by the local court.

Zhang therefore moved the case to the local court in March of this year.

In dismissing the case, Lizama said the case was filed beyond the statute of limitation period as the rape incident took place in November 1996 while she was in detention.

Lizama said that since Zhang was released on Jan. 23, 1997, she had until Jan. 23, 1999 to file the complaint.

Zhang could have promptly transferred the case to the local court 30 days after the federal court dismissed her case, Lizama said. (MCM)

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