Cops hear loud scream and allegedly find a child being assaulted
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of assaulting his 12-year-old nephew was arrested and he’s now being charged. When questioned by police, the defendant, Taoipu Salevao stated that the reason why he did this to his nephew was to teach him a lesson.
Salevao appeared in District Court last week for his initial appearance and he’s represented by Public Defender Michael White.
Salevao is charged with one count of abuse of a child (involving domestic violence), a class D felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000, but not less than $150, or both.
Bail is set at $10,000.
If he posts bond, Salevao was ordered by the court to find another place to stay and to not have any direct or indirect contact with the victim and his family.
On Oct. 7th, 2021 at about 8:36p.m, several police officers proceeded to a call in Faleniu on an unrelated incident. As responding officers were about to leave the scene, they heard a loud scream of a person in danger and in need of help from approximately 45 feet from where they were standing.
Officers were notified by a bystander that the loud scream was coming from the area close to the store ahead of them.
Officers proceeded to the new location next to the store ahead of them where the loud screaming was coming from and they met up with a young boy while other officers met up with a male individual by the name of Taoipu Salevao, who was later identified as the defendant in this matter.
The young boy was later identified as the 12-year-old victim in this case.
Officers conducted a field interview of the victim and quickly observed that the victim was shaking and shivering in fear, at the same time trying to explain what happened.
The victim told officers that he went with his Salevao to buy a gas tank. Salevao resides with the victim’s family.
According the victim’s statement to officers, Salevao slapped him in the face inside the store numerous times while he was trying to push him away but Salevao continued to assault him.
When they got outside the store, the victim stated that Salevao took him next to the store where there was no surveillance and choked him with his bare hands while punching him in the face. Salevao pushed him to the ground and stepped on his stomach while at the same time continued to slap him in the face.
The victim further stated to officers that he doesn’t know what triggered Salevao to assault him. He said he begged Salevao to stop but Salevao continued to slap him in the face. He tried very hard to push Salevao’s hand from his neck while he was chocking him.
A female adult was present when the incident happened and later told officers what she saw. According to the witness, she heard a scream and walked towards where she heard the scream and saw Salevao slapping and choking the victim with his bare hands. The witness stated she tried to stop Salevao and that is when officers arrived.
Another witness, a man, also provided a verbal statement to police regarding the alleged incident. According to the witness, he was standing in the middle of the store when he saw Salevao and the victim enter the store. He knew Salevao and the victim as they’re from the same village.
As he was looking for items, he saw Salevao slap the victim in the facial area. He also saw Salevao push the victim outside of the store.
Salevao was apprehended and later transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning where he was Mirandized and made a statement to police.
Salevao admitted assaulting his nephew by slapping him in the face and choking him because he wanted to teach him a lesson for showing him (Salevao) a bad attitude. Salevao further stated to investigators that he also pushed the victim to the ground.