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Police captain focus of IA investigation

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - Last year the Guam Police Department's Internal Affairs Section had to review more than 140 complaints that were filed against members of the force. While a handful of those reports have been published on the agency's web site, the group is busy investigating new complaints that have been filed this year - specifically with regard to a police officer who was arrested on charges of family violence and assault and now allegations that a high-ranking police officer was caught trespassing on private property.

GPD has confirmed a criminal trespass complaint was made against a police captain two weeks ago. While the department continues to investigate, a Yona resident is coming forward with his claims hoping the department won't sweep the allegations under the rug. "He didn't have the respect that I gave him," detailed Frank Balajadia. "He didn't give me back the respect. In other words, in Chamorro, disatentu."

The Yona resident faith in the Guam Police Department is waning. On November 30, Balajadia found Police Captain Mark Charfauros on his private property in the central village, looking at his former sister-in-law's house, which had been unoccupied for some time. Charfauros had intended to rent the home and was initially given approval to access the place.  Several weeks later though Balajadia changed his mind, saying the rental of the home was causing a rift among family members and he didn't want Charfauros on his property.

"After he was told 'At least you could have asked me' and said, 'Hey, Frank, can we talk?', but he went ahead on to my property after he was told not to," said Balajadia. "Mark Charfauros could have just dropped it at that point in time. What's so important about renting a house down here?"

On December 21, Balajadia found Charfauros back on his property - this time accompanied by two Department of Public Works employees who informed him that they were looking to open the easement from the other side of the property. "He even had the audacity to ask me why I change [sic] my mind? But he bluntly asked me why I changed my mind. And I told him I don't want any problems," he recalled.

A day later, Balajadia filed his criminal trespass complaint with GPD.  He figured the agency was investigating, but last week he received a call from his son-in-law. "Captain [Paul] Suba was telling my son-in-law that Mark Charfauros talked to another police officer to go up to Yona and beat up someone in Yona," he stated.

"I'm kinda getting scared now of being beaten up, but like I said but I spoke to IA; according to IA the allegations are credible. So I don't know what's really going on."

KUAM News spoke with Charfauros this afternoon about the criminal trespass complaint.  He denies that he trespassed, and says he doesn't understand why Balajadia filed the complaint when he went to the property with Public Works to determine an alternate way to access the home without trespassing on Balajadia's property. But the Yona resident said, "As far as trespassing, Mark c'mon, you're lying! What were you doing on my property? There were signs all over!"

Charfauros contends he was simply working with DPW staff to determine the boundaries of Balajadia's property and looking for a public easement.

As for the allegations that he asked another officer to beat up somebody in Yona, The police captain vehemently denies the claim, saying the officer making the allegation is lying and emotional because he was transferred from the Training and Staff Division out to patrol.  Balajadia isn't convinced.

"I'm really traumatized with this because I have to keep looking behind my back," said Balajadia. "I want the department to do that investigation because you're a captain, dude. He's a captain and asking another officer to do bodily harm to somebody in Yona. I don't want to speculate if it's true or not, but I want the department to investigate that."

Charfauros maintains he's done nothing wrong and was simply looking for a cheap place to rent. Balajadia is adamant though he doesn't want the police captain as his neighbor, saying, "The way I feel about Mark Charfauros, he's very unprofessional and it's about time mark that you can't always get what you want."

Balajadia says he intends to meet with police management to further discuss his concerns.  He says he won't stop until he's able to get assurances that Charfauros did not solicit another officer to beat him up.

The police department meanwhile has not released any information confirming the claims about Charfauros' alleged discussions with another officer about an assault. GPD Spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia could only confirm that the department has an ongoing investigation into the criminal trespass matter.

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