A man accused of molesting three children in 2020 is scheduled to go to trial next month.
On Monday, Superior Court of Guam Judge Dana Gutierrez issued a decision and order scheduling Edward Sicat’s trial for Aug. 21.
Sicat was charged in 2020 with first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct after he was accused of sexually assaulting three boys known to him over the course of several years.
He had been scheduled to start trial earlier this month on July 10, but indicated to the court he had retained new counsel the same day a jury was to be selected.
Gutierrez, rather than go forward with jury selection, held a hearing in which Sicat’s counsel, Stephen Hattori, the executive director for the Public Defender Service Corp., said Sicat had hired attorney Michael Phillips.
In another hearing held the next day, Phillips appeared and requested the trial be moved, primarily because of Phillips’ trial schedule, which included high-profile cases in both the local court and the District Court of Guam.
Prosecutor Christine Tenorio objected to the continuance because “crucial” witnesses wouldn’t be available for trial after July 28. She also argued Sicat was hiring a new attorney as a way to delay the trial.
In her order, Gutierrez said she considered both Phillips’ and Tenorio’s arguments, along with others submitted in writing, when determining whether Sicat should have his trial delayed.
Gutierrez said there was no evidence Sicat diligently retained new counsel, which weighed against his request for a continuance. In addition, although Sicat has the constitutional right to retain any counsel he would like, the right is not “absolute.” Hattori said he is prepared to go to trial.
“Therefore, considering all these factors, the Court finds that the prejudice in denying the continuance is limited and will not violate Sicat’s Sixth Amendment right because Sicat will continue to have adequate and conflict-free counsel of record that is prepared to move forward,” Gutierrez wrote, stating trial will begin Aug. 21 and a status hearing will be held Aug. 4.
As stated in Sicat’s charging documents, a 6-year-old boy told officers with the Guam Police Department that Sicat had touched his genital area “a hundred times.” The boy informed police that in one incident he was in bed trying to sleep when he noticed the suspect allegedly sexually assaulting him.
Each incident lasted about 10 minutes, documents state. The boy said the incidents occurred when he was between the ages of 4 and 5.
A second boy, 14, alleged Sicat inappropriately touched him in 2018. He told police he awoke to being sexually assaulted before the suspect slowly moved away, court documents filed by the prosecution state.
The third boy, 14, told police he was in the fifth grade when he awoke to being sexually assaulted by the accused, court documents state. It’s alleged the suspect repeatedly tried to put his hands down the child’s shorts after the victim grabbed the suspect’s hand and pulled it out of his shorts.