Man arrested for alleged sex abuse


Police arrested last New Year’s Day a 28-year-old man who allegedly had sex with a then-15-year-old girl on Rota last Oct. 6.

Justin Babauta Pangelinan was arrested for sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree.

At a hearing yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge Wesley Bogdan imposed a $50,000 cash bail on Pangelinan and set the preliminary hearing for Jan. 10.
The Office of the Public Defender was appointed counsel of Pangelinan. Assistant attorney general Erin Toolan appeared for the government.

According to police detective Ben Atalig, an employee of a school on Rota reported the alleged sex between Pangelinan and the 15-year-old girl to the Department of Public Safety last Oct. 9.

It was allegedly learned that Pangelinan communicated with the girl through social media. Investigators then obtained text messages from Pangelinan telling the girl to hide their relationship from her parents.

Investigators learned that Pangelinan and the girl walked around the island and then entered an abandoned house last Oct. 6. The girl was allegedly in pain after having sex with Pangelinan.

Atalig said Pangelinan admitted he had sex with the girl during an interview on Oct. 14.

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
Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.