Man arrested for allegedly sexually abusing 16 yr-old niece
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old niece was arrested last month pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court, after the victim’s aunt
and her husband filed complaints against him late last year.
(Samoa News has chosen not to identify the man due to the victim being underage, despite being named in court documents.)
The government alleges that on the morning of Nov. 23, 2020, a woman walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that her 16-year-old niece had been sexually abused by her (the aunt’s) son-in-law, and an interview was conducted.
The woman who reported is the victim’s aunt and according to her, the defendant is married to her daughter.
During the course of the police interview it was discovered that there was another alleged victim the defendant had tried to sexually abuse during the same time period. The second victim is the cousin of the first victim, who now resides off-island.
The woman told investigators that her niece, who is the victim in this case, was 15-years-old during the time of the alleged incident. After speaking with the couple regarding this incident, investigators questioned the victim about the case.
The victim told investigators of several alleged incidents when the defendant 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 stared on Christmas night of 2019 when the defendant was heavily intoxicated.
One of the incidents, she recalled to police, was interrupted when she called out to her mother to stop the defendant 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. This was in the month of February 2020.
The victim described two other alleged incidents to the investigators, one that happened at the end of 2019, the another on Nov. 18, 2020.
The one in 2019 was where he allegedly tried to sexually abuse her while she was sleeping, and offered her $100 to have sexual intercourse with him, which she refused, and yelled at him to get out of her room before she called her for help. She said the defendant was intoxicated.
The second incident that occurred on Nov. 18, 2020 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.
Investigators interviewed the victim’s friend who was present when the defendant allegedly touched the victim while sleeping in the living room. She confirmed the incident.
The victim’s friend 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.
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 aunt to report him. The victim’s aunty 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 aunt further revealed during the investigation that every time the defendant consumed alcoholic beverages with his friend, she 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 her other niece (older than the victim), who now resides off-island.
The defendant, 40, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.
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 $30,000.
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.