Man accused of sexually abusing his young cousin arrested and charged
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old cousin was arrested by police last month pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court, after the victim’s aunt filed her complaint against him with the police a few months ago. He is also charged with possession of illegal drugs.
(Samoa News has chosen not to identify the man due to the victim being underage, despite his being named in court documents.) The defendant and the victim are cousins.
The defendant, 30, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
The government has filed two separate cases against the defendant.
In the first case, the defendant 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 for this case is set at $30,000.
In the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.
Bail for this case is set at $10,000.
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.
The government alleges that on the morning of April 13, 2021, a woman walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that her 16-year-old niece had been sexually abused by her 30-year-old nephew.
According to the victim’s aunt, the reporter, she is the sister of the victim’s father.
Investigators discovered during their investigation that there was another alleged victim the defendant tried to sexually abuse during the same time period. The second victim is the cousin of the first victim, who is also 16 years old.
The woman told investigators that her niece, who is the victim in this case, was a 15-year-old during the time of the alleged incident. After speaking with the aunt regarding this incident, investigators questioned the victim about the case.
The victim told investigators of several alleged incidents when her male cousin sexually abused her, which included inappropriately touching her, dirty-talking to her, as well as undressing her while she was sleeping. The alleged sexual abuse started on Thanksgiving of 2020 when the defendant was heavily intoxicated.
The victim said she and her cousin live in the same house and every time he got drunk, he would come to her room and touch her in a sexual manner. He also gave her money to stop her from telling their aunt what was going on between them.
One incident she recalled to police was interrupted when she called out to her aunt to stop her cousin from continuing to inappropriately touch her. The victim said when she called out to her aunt, the defendant stopped what he was doing, stood up and left the room. This was in the month of December 2020.
The victim described three other alleged incidents to the investigators, one that happened at the end of last year (2020), the other occurred on January 18, 2021, and another one occurred on Feb. 20, 2021.
Of note, the defendant lived in the same house as the victim — he had a room.
The one in 2020 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 before she called her aunt and her aunt’s husband. She said the defendant smelled of alcohol when he sat close to her.
In the second incident that occurred on Jan. 15th, 2021 around 3a.m, the victim alleges the defendant 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.
The third incident that occurred in Feb. 20, 2021 when the defendant pushed her room’s door open and forced his way inside while she was sleeping with her little brother. The defendant gave her $60 and asked her if they could have sex. The victim pushed the defendant away and yelled at him to leave. The defendant left the room, leaving $60 cash on the floor.
The next morning, the victim picked up the $60 cash and gave it to her aunt.
Investigators interviewed the victim’s brother who was present when the defendant allegedly touched the victim while sleeping in the living room. He confirmed his sister’s account, adding that before the defendant entered the living room while he and his sister (victim) were sleeping, he (defendant) called out from outside for the victim to come out so that they could discuss something important.
He whispered to his sister (victim) not to go and the victim did not go outside to the defendant.
The victim brother’s further stated that he witnessed the defendant’s attempt to wake up his sister by touching her body, so that they could go outside of the house. The victim brother’s told investigator that he pinched his sister hoping to warn her of what the defendant was trying to do.
The victim’s brother further told investigators that the victim yelled out to the defendant to get out and called out to her aunt to report what the defendant had done to her. He told the investigators that all those times, he was lying on the bed pretending he was asleep because he was scared that the defendant might do something to him if he found out he was awake.
Investigators picked up the defendant for questioning last month before he was transported to TPS where he was Mirandized. The defendant waived his rights and made a statement about the allegations against him.
The defendant was searched prior to being transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning. During the body search, officers, discovered two small baggies in the defendant’s front pocket. One baggie contained white crystalline substance while the other baggie contained green leafy substance.
The defendant told police during questioning that he had gone to the victim’s room to ask her about his phone charger. The door failed to open, so he pushed the door hard and forced his way inside the room. 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 phone charger.
The defendant further stated that the victim woke up and found him beside her, so she called out to her aunt to report him. The victim’s aunt confronted him and he told her he was looking for his phone charger.
When questioned about the drugs found on his possession, the defendant said he bought the two baggies for his own personal use from a man selling drugs in Vaitogi.
A police detective tested the white crystalline substances from the small baggie using the test kit and received a positive result for meth. He also tested the green leafy substance from the small baggie using a test kit and received a positive result for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
After his interview, the defendant was booked and confined.