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Man accused of raping 16-year old girl had pot in his pocket when arrested

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female for a period of 4 months is now in custody after he was arrested by police last month pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.

The government claims that it was on the early morning of May 14, 2021 when a couple walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) with their daughter to report an alleged sexual incident involving their daughter and a man. The couple and their daughter were later identified as the 16-year-old victim and her parents.

Investigators interviewed the victim and her parents separately.

According to the victim’s father’s statement to investigators, he only became aware of the alleged incident after he discovered that his daughter was missing from their home on the early morning of May 14. Contacting his wife, who was working at the time, he asked if she knew the whereabouts of their daughter, to which his wife responded that she had no idea.

This led to him investigating the matter and that’s when he later discovered text messages on his daughter’s cell phone from a person named ‘True-Vine’, who was later identified as Vineula Time, the defendant in this matter.

It appeared from the text messages between the victim and the defendant that something had happened between them over a period of 4 months and they had also engaged in a sexual relationship since February of this year.

When investigators interviewed the victim regarding her side of the story, she said she had met Time at a soccer game around January of this year and he had approached her, saying he wanted to make friends with her. She told Time that she couldn’t because her father doesn’t allow her to hang out with older men, but Time told her that he would make sure nobody knew about their friendship.

The victim and the defendant continued to meet up at the soccer field during soccer games and were able to create a close friendship.

The defendant also asked the victim for her phone number so that he could call her at night to check on her. The second week into their friendship, the victim and the defendant began talking through text messages utilizing Facebook and the friendship grew closer.

After two weeks of meeting each other, the defendant then asked the victim if she would come to his house at night to hang out with him. The victim refused, but the defendant kept asking her to please come to his house so that they could talk more. The victim finally agreed and went to the defendant’s house at night in the last weekend of February — without informing her parents about her whereabouts.

It was during that first visit to the defendant’s home late at night where the first alleged crime of rape occurred after the defendant raped the victim despite her telling him she did not want a sexual relationship. The victim described when and how the rape happened, including that she tried hard to push the defendant away but he was too strong for her and that while he was raping her, the victim put his right hand on the victim’s mouth to stop her from yelling out.

It was that day that the sexual relationship between the defendant and the victim started — up until the morning of May 14th, when the victim’s father discovered that his daughter was missing from home.

According to the victim’s statement to investigators, they had sexual relations more than 20 times between March and May of this year. She described the instances to the investigators, noting that they would have sex 2 to 3 times a day when they met up at the defendant’s home.

The victim was taken by child protective services for an assessment at the LBJ Medical Hospital and was later released to her parents.

Time was apprehended from his friend’s home two days after the parents filed their complaint and was transported to the TPS for questioning. During a body search of Time before he was transported to the TPS, a small baggie containing a green leafy substance was discovered inside his rear pocket.

When questioned by investigators, Time first confessed and admitted to the sex allegation against him. He told investigators that he knew the victim was a minor, however, his desire for a relationship did not stop him from committing the crime.

He denied the allegation that he raped the victim on the first night of their sexual relationship, saying it was consensual. However, he did admit sending text messages to the victim utilizing his Facebook, and that he asked the victim to come to his place on the night of the alleged incident.

When questioned about the green leafy substance discovered in his possession, Time said it belonged to him. He had bought it from another man for his personal use.

Time made his initial appearance in Court last month where he waived his rights to a preliminary examination.

Time is charged with one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, an unclassified felony; along with one count of rape and two counts of sodomy, both class B felony, punishable by imprisonment of not less than five years not more than fifteen years; and one count of 1st degree sexual abuse, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.

Bail is set at $25,000.

If he posts bond, Time is ordered to remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory without the court’s permission, and not make any direct or indirect contact with the government’s witnesses, including the victim and her family. If he encounters her in public, he is to walk away peacefully.

The court made it clear to the defendant that “no direct contact” means, no phone calls nor Facebook messages at all.

Time appeared in High Court last week for his arraignment, where he entered a not guilty plea to all charges against him.

His pretrial conference is set for August of this year.