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Man arrested in violent assault, also charged in a year-old sex case

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — It was revealed during a police investigation that a man accused of stabbing his cousin’s boyfriend has an active arrest warrant for a sex case from last year.

A woman called police last month to report that her boyfriend had been stabbed multiple times in the back and ribs. The alleged incident occurred in Nu’uuli. While police were speaking to the woman at the scene, a male walked over and said it was he who did it. The male was later identified as Mataio Vaega.

(A senior cop recognized Vaega as a suspect from a sex case he  had investigated earlier, and knew there was an active arrest warrant in his name).

Cops found the alleged stabbing victim in his house with injuries to his body — bleeding from his left side, and his back. EMS provided immediate assistance and the victim was transported to the LBJ Hospital for further treatment.

A witness told police that they were playing rugby with both the victim and Mataio and after the game, they all walked home, as usual. En route, the witness said he heard the victim say something about Vaega, which got everyone laughing and making fun of him. Vaega continued to hear his friends, including his cousin’s boyfriend, mocking him, saying he was the one who went to the reverend’s house late at night two weekends ago and attempted to rape the reverend’s daughter.

According to the witness, Vaega became furious and his demeanor quickly changed. He (Vaega) turned around and told his friends to stop mocking him or otherwise someone would pay the price for their actions.

The witness further stated to police that it was at that time when the victim (who was in front of Vaega) turned back and grabbed Vaega’s neck and told him, “Don’t you ever say that to us again because if you can’t put your words into action, I will do it myself.”

When questioned by investigators, Vaega said he felt he had no choice because he heard his friends, including the victim, mocking him and speaking profanely. He said that while sitting on a chair inside his shack (located at the back of the victim’s house), he heard footsteps.

The next thing he heard was the victim calling out his name and saying in Samoan, “Ou te fia vaai i le kama o malosi” translated in English, (I want to see Mr. Strong.)

He then proceeded outside of his shack with a knife in hand, and saw the victim coming toward his house laughing at him.

As the victim got closer, Vaega turned around and stabbed him on his left side twice with the knife. The victim took two steps back while Vaega continued walking towards him, stabbing him on the left side once more.

The victim turned and ran out of the house, and that’s when Vaega allegedly stabbed him in the back multiple times. Vaega told police that he was so angry, the only thing on his mind at the time, was to stab the victim to death.

Vaega further stated to police that he stopped when his cousin (victim’s girlfriend) intervened and begged him to stop. It was at that time he immediately apologized to his cousin for what happened, saying that it was the victim who started the incident.

During his interview with police, Vaega allegedly recalled that he was interviewed by police a year ago for a sex case involving a 16-year-old girl who lived with her family not far from his house.


A man contacted police on Feb. 20, 2019 to report that his niece was allegedly raped by man who lived a few blocks away from their home. The man was later identified as Mataio Vaega. The uncle, who is a cannery worker, told police that Vaega raped his niece inside his (Vaega’s) shack while he (the uncle) was at work that night.

Police interviewed the victim regarding the alleged incident.

According to the victim, the first incident occurred on the night of Feb.15th after a drinking session between her older brother and his friends, including Vaega inside an abandoned house next to Vaega’s shack.

According to the victim’s statement to police, Vaega’s shack is two houses away from their home.

The victim recalled that about 1:05a.m while asleep in the living room with her two young siblings, the girl said she felt someone touch her and she awoke to find Vaega on top of her, raping her.

The victim said she tried hard to push Vaega away but he was too strong, holding both her hands down with one hand, while using his other hand to cover her mouth. After Vaega allegedly raped the girl, he gave her $50 and told her not to tell anybody — saying he would kill her if she told anyone. Out of fear, the victim didn’t tell her family anything.

A week later on a weekend, Vaega went to the victim’s house around 7p.m to hang around with the victim’s older brother. However, the victim’s older brother was not at home that night, only the victim and her two young siblings. The victim’s aunty was at work while her uncle (aunty’s husband) was working as a taxi driver.

 The victim said she woke up around 11:20p.m when she felt someone touching her under her clothes and saw Vaega sitting on her left side. Vaega asked the victim if they could have sex and the victim said no. That’s when the victim woke her young siblings who were sleeping with her. Vaega stood up and walked out.

The next morning, the victim told her uncle what happened, and the uncle notified authorities.

Mataio Vaega, who is in custody on a ‘no bail’ status, made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.  

He is charged in two separate cases. In the first case, Vaega is charged with second-degree assault and first-degree property damage — both class D felonies — and third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor.

In the second case, he is charged with one count of sodomy; one count of deviate sexual assault; one count of rape; and two counts of first degree sexual abuse — all felonies.

Bail is set at $20,000.