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Gov’t considers charging man with sexual abuse of 15-year old

American Samoa District Court building
Victim and defendant only agree that he was in the house, not the abuse

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 52-year-old man accused of assaulting another man in Ottoville last month is scheduled to appear in Court next week for a Status Hearing. The government’s attorney informed the court two weeks ago that there is a possibility additional charges would be filed against the defendant on the allegation that he sexually abused a 15-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 15-year-old.)

The 52-year-old made his initial appearance in district court two weeks ago.

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 $3,000. 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 Tafuna Police Station (TPS) for assistance after a fight escalated between her brother and a man who is known to their family as a yard cleaner or the groundsman. 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 recorded the alleged incident on their cell phones.

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.

The reporter explained to police that it was around 7 p.m on that evening when she heard people arguing from her brother and his wife’s home three houses away from her house. 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 brother’s wife told her that the defendant, who is the man who always does carpentry work for their house, allegedly touched her daughter in a sexual manner while her daughter was sleeping in her room.

Investigators turned to the man allegedly involved in the fight with the defendant, who explained he has known him for many years and he always does the clean up and carpentry work for his family and other families in the village.

He said, that around 1 p.m on the same day, he called the defendant to come and fix his house door and the tiles for the living room saying he would give him money as he has always done in the past. The defendant agreed and turned up at the house around 1:30 p.m to start his job.

The man was left alone to fix the door and tiles, according to the man allegedly involved in the fight,, while he and his wife went to Nuuuli to visit their son and family. He stated that his15-year-daughter was sleeping inside the house along with his two younger daughters 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 10-year-old daughter approached him with tears and told him that something bad happened between her sister (15-year-old victim) and the carpenter man.

The man rushed inside the house and went straight to his eldest daughter (victim) and asked what happened. His daughter told him that she was sleeping in her bedroom when she felt someone touching her inappropriately. That’s when she woke up and saw the carpenter man kneeling on the side of the bed where she was sleeping.

She immediately stood up and walked outside her room, while at the same time yelling at the man to get out of the house before she called police.

The victim told her father that the defendant apologized to her for what he did and immediately took off. She also smelled a strong odor of alcohol inside the house during the time he was there. That’s when the victim woke her young siblings and told them what allegedly happened between her and the carpenter man.

The victim’s father tried to call the defendant’s phone but he never answered. He also visited the defendant’s house more than five times on the same day but he was never at home. He also called his cellphone but it was turned off. 

Two days later around 6:45 p.m, the defendant and another man visited the victim’s home both intoxicated. He confronted the victim’s father and asked him about rumors he (victim’s father) was spreading in the neighborhood that he sexually abused his daughter.

As the victim’s father tried to speak to him, the defendant allegedly struck him in the face with a rock 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 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.

He strongly denied the allegation against him to investigators, telling them his side of the story.

He said that after fixing the front door and the tiles, he made his way to the back door when he heard a lady calling out his name and instructing him to get out of the house.

The defendant turned around and told the female individual (victim) he was fixing the front door and the tiles for the house and the reason why she hadn’t noticed that he was inside the house was the fact she was sleeping in her bedroom the whole time.

He further stated that after fixing the door and the tiles 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 carpentry 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 2 big bottles of beer. According to him, he did not know that there was anyone with him inside the house and he has known the family for many years and considered the couple and their children as his own family.

When asked by the investigator if there was anytime he walked into the bedroom and 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 and the fact that the family is like his family, the children are also like his own children.

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 investigators that he never went to the bedroom. He said that while he was standing in the middle of the kitchen, he heard someone walking in the house. He turned and saw the couple’s daughter’s make her way to the kitchen. According to the defendant, the couple’s daughter looked like she had just woken up.

It was during that time the daughter asked him what is he doing in their house. He told her he had come in to take something to drink and food to eat before he left after fixing the front door and the tiles to the other part of the living room.

The defendant told investigators that it was then that the daughter shouted at him to get out of the house before she called the police. He also saw the daughter pull out her phone and attempt to call police.

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.