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Man accused of assaulting work supervisor

American Samoa District Court

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On January 13, 2024, a man contacted the Fagatogo Police Station (FPS) to report that one of his co-workers, Junior Sootaga had allegedly assaulted him at their workplace in Fagatogo at the Harbor Maritime facility.

The defendant was later arrested and charged with the following charges:

Count 1: Assault in the Third Degree — a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one (1) year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both; and,

Count 2: Public Peace Disturbance — a class B misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than six (6) months, a fine of not more than $500, or both.

According to the affidavit, upon receiving the report, police officers were dispatched to the scene of the incident. When police officers arrived, they reported observing an unknown male being held at the Port Administration office by security including the victim, later identified as Mr. Jone Vosaraya with a cloth wrapped around his injured forehead.

Police immediately contacted EMS for assistance to treat the victim’s injuries.

According to Mr. Vosaraya, he is one of the supervisors of Harbor Maritime facility. He explained that the defendant, Mr. So'otaga, ”came in late which was not the first time that it happened.” He also stated that as a supervisor, he approached Sootaga to advise him that he was to leave work due to the fact that he did not call in late.

As a result, “Sootaga got angry and assaulted him with his fist by punching him more than twice in the face; causing him injuries such as a laceration at the top of his left eye and a swollen shut bruised right eye.”

Upon arrival at the FPS, Sootaga was Mirandized, booked and transported to the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TFC) for confinement to await the next sitting of the court.

The defendant later agreed to give a verbal statement in which he admitted to assaulting Vosaraya by using his fist, “but it was because of the way the victim treated him, which was like a dog, and he was tired of it.”

The victim is identified as a citizen of Fiji, whereas the defendant is identified as a citizen of Samoa.