DOC director takes the hot seat after 'footrub' video goes viral - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DOC director takes the hot seat after 'footrub' video goes viral

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Less than 24 hours after being caught off guard by video KUAM provided to the Department of Corrections of an inmate giving a foot massage to an officer as well as a picture of an inmate holding a cell phone with a guard asleep, director Jose San Agustin took the hot seat before the Guam Legislature.

San Agustin and his management team may have appeared before senators but it wasn't his testimony that took center stage rather testimony from two people. The first Dave Shoals his wife was the victim who was beat with an iron and bound with a chord after accused murder Keith Garrido managed to use a staple to escape from his handcuffed and jump out of a transport vehicle that didn't even have locking devices. Not even a child lock. Shoals was emotional as he spoke before senators about what happened to his wife on November 4. How he retired from the military and has called Guam home for the last six years. He shared a picture of his wife to lawmakers.

"My wife is from Japan. When this happened it traumatized her for the rest of her life now. I've taken two weeks off leave from work now I don't know if I have to take more to support her something's gotta be done you know its sad now she's talking about going back home and I can't live without my wife your married what happens if your wife leaves you I got two kids one going to college next year," he said.

Other testimony came from a former Department of Corrections officer Eric Santos who testified about a climate of corruption. "There's alot of dirty business going on in this department that needs to revealed internal affairs are not appropriately being conducted. You have a lot of deceit from the investigation a lot of misinformation being informed to the employee," he said.

Santos said when director Jose San Agustin first came in he had an open door policy but that all changed. He said he's tried to submit information and file a complaint about improper conduct by officers at DOC, but was denied access to the director by DOC spokesperson Jeff Limo. Santos today said he submitted a packet containing pictures to Senator Brant McCreadie's office that he said proof of corruption.

"There's a lot of talk and its been in the media a lot of times  about  how is contraband getting in there.. you will see how it's getting in there. Its clear and convincing reason beyond a doubt however you want to call it. It's actually a reason there's a lot of corrupted officers in there is not helping when management is safeguarding them.  And we're trying to get rid of these individuals and its effects the subordinates who are trying to do their vest up and running and good. And making ends meet for their families," he said.

During the oversight hearing director San Agustin was repeatedly asked about whether the agency was in a state of emergency considering the fact that they haven't filled some 50 vacancies, although the legislature had provided funding to hire. Also the fact that some officers are working 7 days a week, then there's November 4th escape and most recently the release of  videos and pictures of officers evidently slacking on the job.

McCreadie said, "No one on this panel that in any policy infrastructure, procedures, transport, overtime, employees we're all three of you agree publicly now under oath that there's no emergency at DOC, no one believes that there any type of state of emergency at the Department of Corrections , nothing?" San Agustin replied, "Senator, there was one incident on November 4...no emergency."

KUAM spoke with San Agustin after today's oversight hearing to get his reaction to Santos' testimony. San Agustin declined to comment because the case is before the Civil Service Commission but he did say that Santos was terminated for multiple infractions. He added that he respected Santos' comments and feelings and that as the director he will continue to do what he has to do.

Meanwhile during the oversight hearing San Agustin commended whoever came forward and provided the video and pictures of his officers engaging in alleged inappropriate behavior.  Additionally he said unfortunately he will now be conducting surprise inspections even in the middle of the night to ensure that his officers are doing their jobs.

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