Court looks at further charges for carpenter arrested for assault
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 41-year-old man accused of assaulting another man in Tafuna last month is scheduled to appear in Court next week for a Status Hearing. The government’s attorney informed the court last month that there is a possibility additional charges would be filed against the defendant on the allegation that he sexually abused a 17-year-old female.
(Despite the names appearing in the police report, Samoa News has chosen to not name the individuals in this report to protect the privacy of the girl.)
The 41-year-old made his initial appearance in court last month after being arrested by police.
He is charged with trespass; public peace disturbance (PPD) and 3rd degree assault and being armed with a dangerous weapon; all misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $2,500. The court informed the defendant that bail would be increased if the government files additional charges against him.
The government claims that a woman called the TPS for assistance after a fight escalated between her brother and a man who is known to their family as a ‘faithful’ helper. He was later identified as the defendant in this matter.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with a woman who identified herself as the reporter. Officers also observed a crowd of people gathered around while two men tried to keep another male individual from going inside the house.
People who were at the scene were able to record the alleged incident on their cell phones while other were just standing around and witnessing the incident.
Officers settled everyone down and managed to control the situation before they spoke to some of the witnesses who were at the scene during the time of the alleged incident, including the woman who requested police assistance.
The woman who made the call explained to police that it was around 7p.m in the evening when she heard people arguing from her brother and his wife’s home one house away from her house where she lives with her parents and her children. As she was trying to call her brother’s cell phone to find out what is going on at his place, she observed a crowd of people gathered on the road in front of her brother’s house. That’s when she ran to her brother’s house and found her brother fighting with a male individual.
She tried to find out what triggered the fight, and her 19-year-old niece (her brother’s daughter) told her that the defendant, who is known to their family, who came to do carpentry work, allegedly touched her 17-year-old sister in a sexual manner while her sister was sleeping on a couch in their living room alone in the house.
Investigators turned to the man allegedly involved in the fight with the defendant, who explained he has known the defendant for many years and he always does carpentry work for his family and other families in the village.
He said, on a Saturday afternoon around 2p.m, he called the defendant to come and do carpentry work for his garage and shower saying he would give him money as he has always done in the past. The defendant agreed and he turned up at his house around 1:30p.m to start the job.
The male victim of the alleged assault told police that the man was left alone to clean the yard while he and his wife went to visit his co-worker at the LBJ Hospital. He stated that his17-year-daughter along with his 11-year old son were sleeping in the bedroom when he and his wife left.
The defendant had already left the house when the couple arrived back home. According to the man’s statement to police, he was standing at the side of his vehicle when his son and daughter approached him with tears and told him that something bad happened between them and the man who was doing the carpentry work.
When he asked his daughter what she meant, her daughter told him that she was sleeping in her room with her little brother when she felt someone touching her legs and chest inappropriately. That’s when she woke up and saw the man who does carpentry work standing at the end of the bed looking at them while holding a beer can in his right hand. She immediately stood up and walked out of her room, while at the same time yelling at the man to get out of the house.
The man pretended that he was looking for something and asked her if she could open her Dad’s warehouse so that he could go inside and get some tools he needed for his work.
The victim told her father that the defendant apologized if he scared her and her brother — and he then took off. She also smelled a strong odor of alcohol inside the house during the time he was there.
The victim’s father tried to call the defendant’s phone but he never answered. He also visited his house three times on the same day but he was never at home.
Five days later on a Wednesday night around 8 p.m, the defendant and another man visited the victim’s home. He confronted the victim’s father and asked him about rumors that he sexually abused his daughter.
As the victim’s father tried to speak to him, the defendant allegedly grabbed his neck and punched him in the face causing him to fall. He also kicked the man in his back and facial area multiple times before he took off. The man who was with the defendant during the time of the incident also took off.
Investigators interviewed the alleged abuse victim and she confirmed to police her father’s statement about what happened.
After considering all the information regarding the alleged incident, the defendant was transported to the TPS for further investigation.
He was Mirandized after which he informed investigators that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement about what allegedly happened, in which he strongly denied the allegation against him.
He told investigators that after fixing the family’s garage and shower, he remembered that he wanted to keep his tools inside the man’s warehouse. He went inside the house looking for anybody who could open the warehouse door so that he can put his tools inside because he was planning on going straight to town for shopping, and he could’nt take his tools with him on the bus.
As he was walking inside the house, he heard people talking inside the room. He looked inside the bedroom and saw the man’s children were awake and they were playing with their iPad on the bed, that’s when he stood outside the room and explained to the young girl what he needed. The defendant strongly denied the allegation that he allegedly touched her in a sexual manner, nor did he enter the bedroom.
He further stated that after he spoke to the man’s daughter and son in the room, he then walked to the refrigerator located in the kitchen to get some water to drink. He also took some food from the table as he always did in the past whenever he did work for this family.
He told investigators that he made a lot of noise while performing his job and he was also singing. He also consumed 8 cans of beer. He did not know that there was anyone with him inside the house until he went inside the house and found the two young children talking inside the room. According to him, he has known the family for many years and he considered the couple and their children as his own family.
When asked by the investigator if there was anytime he allegedly touched the victim in a sexual manner, he said, no. He told investigators that he never had any intention to do such an act because he doesn’t want to be locked up.
He said that he has a free life and he doesn’t want to be in prison because he is enjoying what he’s doing to earn a living for him and his family. He told the investigator that he never went inside the bedroom. He said the room’s door was open so he was able to stand from the living room and communicate with the two children, who were inside the room at the time.
He further stated that he was embarrassed after the victim spread rumors in their neighborhood that he sexually touched his daughter and that’s why he allegedly assaulted him. According to the defendant, the victim should have come to him first to discuss the issue before spreading any false rumors.
After considering all information from everyone involved in the case, including the defendant, the defendant was arrested and transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and detained.