The Superior Court has dismissed without prejudice, the case filed against a man who is being accused of sexually abusing an 8-year-old boy.
During a preliminary hearing for Christian Harrys Manuel last Wednesday, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho found no probable cause to believe that the defendant committed five counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.
Because of this, the court dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning the government can re-file the case if or when there is additional information or evidence.
Camacho further explained in his order that the testimony of detective Anthony Santos, the government’s only witness, raised reasonable suspicion that the allegations against Manuel should be further investigated.
“However, reasonable suspicion is a lower standard than probable cause. Probable cause is required to make an arrest. The government has the burden to show that probable cause exists that a crime has been committed and the defendant committed the crime. At its core, the only substantive information to the current allegations that was testified to in court is: allegations that fellatio may have happened sometime within the past six years. No other corroborating information is available at this time. Therefore, there is reasonable suspicion to continue to conduct further investigation. The court dismisses the charges without prejudice, meaning that the government can bring charges if or when they are able to obtain more evidence,” he said.
Camacho noted that, according to the guardian of the minor, the child said the defendant was the one who downloaded the pornographic material to his tablet. However, this could not be corroborated because the tablet was erased/cleaned by the guardian.
“The ‘pornographic materials’ could have been used to establish a timeline,” he said.
Also, Camacho said, the police did not see the pornographic material, or even see and take the tablet into custody as evidence.
“No attempt was made to try to retrieve the data to corroborate any timeline,” he said.
In addition, Camacho stated that the child said that Manuel had the child perform fellatio. However, the child did not give any other details other than the vague allegation of fellatio and the police did not obtain any other details to, at the very least, make a physical collaboration.
Furthermore, Camacho said, no medical or other scientific test was taken or conducted as part of the police investigation.
According to Saipan Tribune archives, Manuel was arrested last April on charges of sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree and disturbing the peace. The initial complaint to the Department of Public Safety was made by the Division of Youth Services last April 25, after the child’s legal guardian made the allegation.