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Bench warrant issued for domestic abuser after probation violation

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chief Justice Michael Kruse issued a bench warrant to arrest a probationer for failure to appear in High Court last Friday for his “Order to Show Cause” hearing. 

Tino Tapuaialupe was scheduled to appear in court for his OSC for failure to comply with conditions of his probation, however, when his case was called, his attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson told the court that his client was not there and he had no information as to his whereabouts.

Kruse turned to Probation for an answer and Chief Probation Officer Malcolm Polu confirmed to the court that Tapuaialupe was served with a copy of the OSC on May 11, 2021. Kruse then issued a bench warrant for his arrest.


Tapuaialupe was sentenced to 5 years probation with conditions that included he remain law abiding and not consume or possess alcohol or illegal drugs, after being convicted of assaulting his wife by striking her with a chair.

Just months after his released from custody, Tapuaialupe was re-arrested and charged with physically abusing his 3-year-old nephew.

The defendant’s niece told investigators that she witnessed Tino (defendant) slapping her little brother (victim) three times in the face and also kicking him in the face, which caused her brother to cry. She was scared so she called her mother to take her brother to the hospital.

About 10 minutes after she arrived at the laundromat, her phone rang and it was her older daughter saying that she had to come home to take T.P (victim) to the hospital because Tino (defendant) had slapped and kicked him in the face causing injuries to the victim’s facial area.

The victim’s mother arrived back home immediately and saw her son (victim) crying and she observed swelling and red marks on her son’s face, that’s when she contacted police. She further stated to investigators that her brother (defendant) abuses her kids often and she had warned him about this several times.

The defendant after explaining to investigators what he had done, told them that he tries his best to teach his sister’s children how to behave themselves, however, he thinks he over reacted and as a result, he disciplined his nephew while he was angry.