A Superior Court bench trial began yesterday in the case against Andres B. Roberto, a man accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl outside a residence on Saipan.
The alleged victim took the witness stand yesterday. Defense attorney Joaquin Torres is expected to continue his cross-examination on the girl when the trial resumes today at 9am.
Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja, who is presiding over the bench trial, stopped Torres’ examination past 12pm after the defense lawyer requested for time to investigate the girl’s testimony that she talked to other persons about what Roberto did to her.
Torres questioned why those names that the girl mentioned were never provided by the government during discovery.
Naraja asked the girl again about the names of the persons, but she refused to talk.
Assistant attorney general Jonathan Robert Glass Jr., counsel for the government, objected to the defense’s request. Glass said it’s also the first time they heard about that testimony.
Naraja asked the parties to submit pleadings about the issue and ordered the parties to come back in court today, Tuesday, for the resumption of the trial.
The girl would sometimes pause during her testimony and wipe her tears.
Roberto, 49, allegedly handed $60 for a fundraiser to the 14-year-old girl, then hugged her, kissed her on the mouth, squeezed her breast, and rubbed her butt in the back of a house in the evening of April 19, 2016.
The girl said she pushed Roberto away, threw the money back at him, and ran into the house.
Police said because of the incident, the girl was so traumatized that her mother once saw her in possession of a knife on her bed, as she wanted to kill herself.
Torres asked why she stated in her statement that she did something bad and not Roberto did something bad.
The girl replied that she should have done something like screaming when the incident happened.
Roberto is on trial for sexual assault of a minor in the third degree, assault and battery, and disturbing the peace. He pleaded not guilty.
Roberto is the brother of former CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife official Raymond B. Roberto, who was acquitted in 2014 by a federal jury of charges that he enticed three minor girls to engage in prostitution and tampered a witness while he was in jail.