‘Some cops sexually abused Basa in her youth’

»Jurors continue to deliberate today in Roberto’s case

Annette N. Basa, a 36-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children, was sexually abused by some police officers when she was young, according to court documents filed in federal court by attorney Steven P. Pixley.

Meanwhile, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona on Monday granted Pixley’s unopposed motion to continue the sentencing of his client, Basa, from Sept. 24, 2014, to Nov. 25, 2014.

As this developed, the 12 federal court jurors will resume this morning, Wednesday, their deliberations in the case against Raymond B. Roberto.

The case against Basa and former firefighter Richard S. Benavente is somehow related to Roberto’s case. Roberto, 41, is a former acting director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife who in on trial for three counts of enticing three minors to engage in prostitution and one count of witness tampering.

In Basa’s sentencing memorandum filed in court in May, Pixley said it is “perhaps an understatement” to say that Basa has had a difficult childhood.

Indeed, Pixley said, Basa’s mother moved to Guam when she was young and she dropped out of school at an early age.

Pixley disclosed that Basa was also the victim of sexual abuse when she was young.

“This sexual abuse was perpetrated primarily by police officers employed by the Department of Public Safety,” said Pixley, adding that this abuse left his client with a variety of psychological problems.

Pixley retained Dr. Laura L. Post, a psychiatrist, to evaluate Basa. Post’s psychiatric evaluation of Basa was filed under seal.

Pixley said a review of Post’s psychiatric report and other evidence support a finding that Basa has significant reduced mental capacity.

At the time of her arrest on Aug. 14, 2013, Basa was reportedly the primary caregiver for her father, who is in poor health. She has remained under detention.

Last Friday, Pixley filed in court a request to continue the sentencing date from Sept. 24 to sometime in November 2014 due to Post’s unavailability on Sept. 24.

Pixley said that Post is an important expert witness for Basa and that Assistant U.S. Attorney Rami S. Badawy does not oppose a new sentencing date.

Badawy himself asked the court in July to continue the previous sentencing date of Aug. 29, 2014, as the prosecution needs more time to have Basa examined by their own expert.

Basa is being accused of recruiting and enticing two underage girls into prostitution.

Last Feb. 28, Basa, who appeared with her court-appointed counsel Pixley, pleaded guilty to a count charging her with sex trafficking of children.

Under the statute, that offense is punishable by at least 10 years in prison and a maximum of life imprisonment.

The original sentencing date was June 6, 2014.

According to the plea deal, from April 1, 2013, to July 16, 2013, Basa recruited, enticed, and harbored a 15-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts.

Using a cell phone, Basa arranged meetings with adult males and the girl, and then drove the girl to meeting sites for the purpose of having those men have sex with her.

Basa gave the girl condoms for those meetings. Basa received money and/or methamphetamine or “ice” from the men in exchange.

The indictment charged Basa and co-defendant Benavente for engaging in sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of two minors.

According to the indictment, Benavente, a firefighter, persuaded the two girls to have sex with him and recorded the incident using a cell phone. This allegedly happened twice.

The indictment alleged that on April 1, 2013, Basa recruited and enticed the two girls to engage in “commercial sex act.”

A Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent alleged that Benavente took videos of himself having sex with two 15-year-old girls. Basa allegedly offered the girls to the firefighter in exchange for methamphetamine or “ice” and an unspecified amount of money.

Benavente has already pleaded guilty. Roberto’s defense team called him at the trial as one of their nine witnesses.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@Saipantribune.com

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