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Husband pleads not guilty in Hawaii-Guam trafficking case

March 31, 2022 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — A man accused with his wife of trafficking a mother and teenaged girl to Hawaii from Guam pleaded not guilty Thursday.

Kevin Robert pleaded not guilty to labor trafficking charges, according to his attorney, Tim Rakieten. His wife, Pomerrine Robert, pleaded not guilty last week. Kevin Robert’s arraignment was postponed then because he requested a Chuukese interpreter.

“I need sufficient time to review the case, and review with him, before I can comment any further,” Rakieten said.

State Public Defender James Tabe, whose office represents Pomerrine Robert, has previously declined to comment.

Police alleged in court documents that when the 15-year-old girl and her mother arrived in Honolulu, the Roberts took away their passports, forced them to work and beat them.

Court documents don’t specify the country of the passports.

The girl and her mother lived in the couple’s apartment, while the teen enrolled at a high school and the woman got a job at a deli where Pomerrine Robert also worked, the documents said.

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The documents said Robert took away the mother’s money, the girl was expected to clean the apartment and Robert beat the girl and mother.

The couple locked the girl in a bedroom for several days and she reported it to a school counselor after she was let out, according to the documents.