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51-year-old man charged for alleged sexual abuse of transgender teen

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 51-year old man is being held on bail of $20,000 over claims that he sexually abused a 16-year old transgender teenager.

Viliamu Filemoni appeared in the District Court yesterday, on charges of rape, sexual abuse-first degree, felonious restraint, assault-third degree and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the government’s case, the incident occurred inside a room adjacent to a church building on February 7, 2023 in Leone. 

The victim’s father lodged a criminal complaint following the incident at the Leone Police Substation. Court documents say the father informed police his son is a transgender person and was disappointed with what allegedly occurred to him.

The victim told police, he was heading home after baseball practice at Leone High School, and when approaching a church located next to his house; he saw Viliamu cleaning the chapel. It’s alleged the defendant called out to the victim.

The court document says the victim went inside the church assuming that the defendant needed help cleaning the church.

‘However Viliamu told him to go to the back side of the church and forced him inside the basement of the church. Viliamu grabbed him by the neck from behind and instructed him to sit on the floor.”

It’s alleged the defendant told the victim to perform sexual acts on him but the victim refused and pushed him away. Furthermore, it’s alleged that the defendant touched himself inappropriately in front of the victim.

Afterwards “Viliamu then told him to leave and instructed him to not tell anyone what happened.

“He walked home crying and wanted to tell his family what just happened, but no one was home.”

According to the criminal complaint, the defendant told police that it was the victim who instigated the inappropriate touching, and that it was the victim that grabbed him.

Viliamu requested to talk with victim’s father as he wanted to apologize and make amends, says court records, but police denied the appeal by the defendant.