The Blue House case, step by step
Via Pacific Daily News
This time line was compiled using District Court of Guam documents, internal investigation reports and Pacific Daily News files.
•2004 -- The Blue House lounge opens in Tamuning. The lounge secretly operated as a brothel where immigrants were forced into prostitution. Over the next four years, at least nine women will be victimized at the Blue House.
•Jan. 13, 2008 -- Police raid the Blue House lounge after a woman reports to an officer's wife that the bar owner is holding the passports of some immigrant employees. During the raid, officers quickly discover evidence of prostitution, including a customer caught with his pants down in a private room.
•Jan. 28, 2008 -- A Blue House victim tells police during an interview that three police officers frequented the lounge. She describes the officers but gives no names. She also tells investigators that a police officer threatened to arrest her if she didn't obey the brothel owner.
•Feb. 7, 2008 -- Three people are charged in federal court for the Blue House conspiracy. They are Song Ja Cha, the owner, and two supervisors, Freda Eseun and Saknin Weria.
•March 19, 2008 -- Another Blue House victim tells police during an interview that three police officers frequented the lounge. The victim also says that a Blue House employee was once required to take an officer into a private room to "make him happy" as a birthday present. This victim gives similar descriptions of the officers, but also provides first names for two officers -- "Tony" and "Mario."
•May 23, 2008 -- Freda Eseun pleads guilty to criminal conspiracy and agrees to testify against Song Ja Cha. Four days later, Saknin Weria pleads guilty to criminal conspiracy and agrees to testify against Cha.
•Feb. 9, 2008 -- The weeklong trial of Song Ja Cha begins in the District Court of Guam. During the trial, Freda Eseun testifies that three police officers frequented the Blue House and names two of the officers -- "Tony" and "Mario" -- becoming the second source to give these names. Saknin Weria testifies that Blue House victims were afraid of the officers. The same Blue House victim who spoke to police in January 2008 testifies that an officer once threatened to arrest her if she did not obey Cha. Finally, Officer David Manila testifies that he had sex with a Blue House employee after paying for a "ladies drink." Manila also testifies that he once "advised" a Blue House employee that she could not leave the lounge until she had paid her debts to Cha. Manila's testimony prompts the police department to launch an internal investigation.
•Feb. 15, 2011 -- During closing arguments, Jared Fishman, a trial attorney for the Department of Justice, said Song Ja Cha used police officers as "tools" and "weapons" to create a "climate of fear" to control her victims. Police were "friendly" with Cha, Fishman said.
•Feb. 17, 2011 -- Cha is found guilty of 20 federal crimes, all stemming from human trafficking and prostitution.
•April 19, 2011 -- Police confirm that Officer David Manila was punished but not fired after being investigated for his connections to the Blue House.
•Jan. 10, 2012 -- Police release four internal investigation reports, including one about Officer David Manila, as required by local law. The report states that Manila abetted prostitution at Blue House and states that the officer was served an undisclosed adverse action.
•Sept. 6, 2012 -- The Pacific Daily News publishes a story about the courtroom testimony in the Blue House federal trial. The story states that, despite the allegations of trial attorney Jared Fishman, no officer has been fired, arrested or charged for alleged connections with the Blue House. The police department confirms that David Manila was the only officer ever investigated in this case.
•Sept. 17, 2012 -- The Pacific Daily News publishes another story on Blue House, which for the first time publicizes the courtroom allegations against officers named "Mario" and "Tony."
•Sept. 19, 2012 -- Song Ja Cha is sentenced to life in prison. Freda Eseun and Saknin Weria are sentenced to probation only. Federal Judge Dean Pregerson says Cha's crimes "are not far removed from slavery." U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco declines to comment on the allegations against officers. Limtiaco says she can't discuss matters that "may be" under investigation.
•Sept. 29, 2012 -- The police department says in a statement that it will make no more statements about the Blue House case, but that its silence should not be interpreted as signs of a "cover-up."
•Sept. 30, 2012 -- Gov. Eddie Calvo tells the Pacific Daily News he is concerned that the Blue House case may have exposed some "bad apples" in the police department. Three days later, Lt. Gov. Ray Tenorio calls for the attorney general to conduct an independent investigation into the case.
•Oct. 4, 2012 -- Police Chief Fred Bordallo tells the Pacific Daily News that he doesn't believe there is enough justification to investigate any police officers besides David Manila for alleged connections to the Blue House case.
•Oct. 5, 2012 -- After consulting with the governor's office, Chief Fred Bordallo announces he will reopen the Blue House investigation. The chief said that he was unaware of the allegations against officers named "Tony" and "Mario" until they were published by the Pacific Daily News in September. Over the next week, four police officers are chosen to investigate the case, and both Attorney General Leonardo Rapadas and U.S. Attorney Alicia Limtiaco meet with the police chief to discuss the investigation.
•Oct. 17, 2012 -- The Pacific Daily News publishes another story about the Blue House case, using internal law enforcement documents to reveal that police investigators were informed about allegations against multiple officers back in 2008. Read more here via Pacific Daily News