SAIPAN — The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House of Representatives should look into the sexual assault and abuse allegations against Rep. Edwin Propst, Grace Sablan-Vaiagae said Tuesday in a letter to Speaker Edmund Villagomez.

Sablan-Vaiagae was the CNMI Republican Party candidate in the recent Precinct 3 special election. She lost to Democrat Corina Magofna.

Asked for comment, Propst said: "This is a political hit story coming at a time when we are investigating (Gov.) Ralph Torres for corruption. Nothing new here."

Speaker Villagomez said he had received the letter but did not have a chance to review it yet.

"This is something that I would also like to discuss with our legal counsel. That is all I have at the moment," he said.

In her letter to the speaker, Sablan-Vaiagae said while campaigning for the special election, she had "the incredible opportunity to meet with community members to discuss their hopes and aspirations for the islands, as well as their concerns about local politics and governance."

She said, "Time and time again, the allegations and findings of sexual assault and abuse by sitting Rep. Edwin Propst arose in conversations I had with members of our community."

Sablan-Vaiagae also mentioned a Jan. 13 memorandum issued by CNMI Attorney General Edward Manibusan on the allegations against Propst, some of which dated two decades ago while he was employed by the Public School System and Northern Marianas College.

She noted that the investigation identified eight potential victims, seven of whom chose to provide details of the allegations.

Ultimately, she added, the AG declined prosecution, not because the information did not warrant it, but because of the "passage of substantial time, expiration of the statute of limitations, and the desire of the victims for confidentiality."

According to Sablan-Vaiagae, "While the legal standard for prosecuting these offenses may have its limitations, there certainly should not be limitations in our system of governance to weigh the ethics and morality of an individual who has consistently, repeatedly, and dangerously demonstrated his propensity to be a sexual predator of young women in our community."

She said, "Predators such as Edwin Propst are the epitome of what advocates against sexual assault fight against. Through his position of power as a high school teacher, college employee, and now as a member of the CNMI House of Representatives, he has abused his authority and exercised this authority to coerce and silence his victims."

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