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Conflicting stories from police and SRU regarding alleged rape

[photo: Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu]

Apia, SAMOA — There are conflicting officials statements provided by the Samoa Police and Samoa Rugby Union following the alleged rape of a “caucasian volunteer” from Australia. According to Samoa’s Police Spokesperson, Su’a LeMamea Tiumalu during the police weekly press conference, he noted that a 25-year old man was arrested on criminal charges of rape. He further stated that the man who is behind bars is a referee and a supervisor at the Samoa Commercial Bank. According to Su’a the “palagi” couple were out in the evening and were both intoxicated when they returned to the Samoa Rugby Unioun compound where the victim lives as she’s a volunteer for the SRU.

However in an interview with Samoa News, Chief Executive Officer of SRU Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai set the record straight noting that the “volunteer” as indicated by the police does not volunteer with the SRU. “She’s a friend of one of our trainers, but she doesn’t work or live at the SRU compound.” He expressed his disappointment with the how the “wrong information” was disseminated from the police where information released shouldn't be disputed.

The SRU CEO admitted that the incident occurred on SRU grounds and those who were supposed to secure the premises have been suspended pending an internal investigation. He further stated that another issue he wanted to make clear is that the accused in this case is not a referee for the SRU. “He doesn’t work for us, rather he’s a bank employee and he’s here all the time training and playing rugby with our staff, but he doesn’t work for SRU.”

Faleomavaega, told Samoa News information relayed to him was that the accused and their trainer along with the girl were in a drinking session on the compound and afterwards, the trainer and the girl went to the trainers room and slept, as they “were heavily intoxicated.” He said that according to their security officers who have since been suspended, they informed the trainer that the girl is not allowed to sleep there as she’s not an employee of SRU. Faleomavaega further noted that alcohol is not allowed on the premises unless they hold officials functions, but many rules have been violated by the trainer and security.

“But we will get to that later, as there are internal investigations underway, the security guards obviously didn’t do their job.” Faleomavaega also noted that this occurred on SRU grounds and that’s saddening for him but made it clear that the volunteer girl does not work for SRU and nor does the accused in this case.

He stated that their management staff has already reached out to the Samoa Police to issue a correction to the wrong information that was publicly aired giving the SRU a bad name. Asked if he knows where the victim works and Faleomavaega said, he has no knowledge for whom or where the victim works.

Samoa News reached out to Su’a for a comment following the interview with SRU CEO, and he stated that he would call back as he needs to look into this matter.

In the meantime, the accused is housed at the Tafa’igata Prison and is scheduled to appear for first mention in the Supreme Court on February 27, 2017.