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Man accused of sexually abusing his 13-year-old sister-in-law arrested

American Samoa District Court building
Allegedly tried the same with her older sister, now living off-island

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of sexually abusing his 13-year-old sister-in-law was arrested by police last week pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court, after the victim’s parents filed their complaints against him with the police last month.

(Samoa News has chosen not to identify the man due to the victim being underage, despite his being named in court documents.)


The government alleges that on the morning of Oct. 3, 2020, a couple walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that their daughter had been sexually abused by their son-in-law, and an interview was conducted.

During the course of the police interview, it was discovered that there was another alleged victim the defendant tried to sexually abuse during the same time period. The second victim is the older sister of the first victim, who now resides off-island.

The couple told investigators that their daughter ,who is the victim in this case, is a 13-year-old girl. After speaking with the couple regarding this incident, investigators questioned the victim about the case.

The victim told investigators of several alleged incidents when her brother-in-law sexually abused her, which included inappropriately touching her, dirty-talking to her, as well as undressing her while she was sleeping.

One incident occurred when she and her friend were sleeping in the living room, and she woke up after she noticed someone touching her chest and saw it was her brother-in-law standing beside her. She stated that she could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from her brother-in-law’s breath, because allegedly he had been drinking alcohol the whole night outside of their house.

The victim said she and her brother-in-law live in the same house.

Another incident she recalled to police was interrupted when she called out to her mother to stop her brother-in-law from continuing to inappropriately touch her. The victim said when she called out to her mother, the defendant stopped what he was doing, stood up and left the room.

The victim described two other alleged incidents to the investigators, one that happened at the end of last year (2019), the other occurred on Sept. 18, 2020.

The one in 2019 was where he allegedly tried to sexually abuse her while she was sleeping, and offered her $50 to have sexual intercourse with him, which she refused, and yelled at him to get out of her room.

According to the victim, after she yelled at the defendant, he then stood up and walked to his room. She also smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath when he sat close to her.

The second incident that occurred on Sept. 18, 2020 around 1a.m, the victim alleges the brother-in-law again attempted to sexually abuse her by inappropriately touching her while she was sleeping in her room. She woke up and told him to leave her room, and he complied.

Investigators interviewed the victim’s friend who was present when the defendant allegedly touched the victim while sleeping in the living room. The victim’s friend confirmed the victim’s account, adding that before the defendant entered the living room while she and her friend (victim) were sleeping, he (defendant) called out from outside for the victim to come out so that they could discuss something important.

She whispered to her friend (victim) not to go and the victim did not go outside to the defendant.

The victim friend’s further stated that the defendant used a kitchen knife to try and pry open the door that was locked — trying to enter the living room. When that was unsuccessful, the defendant then entered through a small opening to gain entry inside. While the defendant was in the living room, he tried to wake up the victim by touching her body, so that they could go inside his room. The victim friend’s told investigator that she pinched the victim hoping to warn her of what the defendant was trying to do.

The victim’s friend told investigators that the victim yelled out to the defendant to go outside before she (victim) called out to her mother to report what the defendant had done to her.

Investigators picked up the defendant for questioning before he was transported to TPS where he was Mirandized. The defendant waived his rights and made a statement about the allegations against him.

He told police that he had gone to the living room to ask his niece where his son was. He failed to enter through the living room door, so he had entered through the living room window. He went over and sat next to the victim and removed the blanket. He continued to touch her body including her thighs and her chest hoping to wake her up so he could ask the whereabouts of his 14-year-old son.

The defendant further stated that the victim woke up and found him beside her, so she called out to her mother to report him. The victim’s mother entered the living room and separated them.

The defendant also told investigators that the victim was always flirtatious with him. He also stated that he said some stupid things to the victim that night. Although he had been drinking, he was still aware of what he was doing.

After questioning him, the defendant was then booked and confined.

The victim’s parents further revealed during the investigation that every time their son-in-law consumed alcoholic beverages, they (victim’s parents) always locked the front and back doors to the living room because there have been prior incidents where the defendant tried to do the same thing with their other daughter (older than the victim), who now resides off-island.

The defendant, 45, made his initial appearance in District Court last week.

He is charged with two counts of sodomy, a class B felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment for 5 to15 years; and two counts 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 $20,000.

If he posts bond, the court orders the defendant to make all of his court appearances, stay in close contact with his defense attorney, and not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim or her family.