Man charged with abuse of underage girl
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old man from Futiga was taken into custody last month for the alleged sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl after he walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) and turned himself in. The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He is charged with first degree sexual abuse, a class D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.
Bond is set at $15,000 and a preliminary examination is scheduled for next Tuesday. The court has denied a defense motion to reduce bond to $5,000 due to the seriousness of the allegation.
If he is able to post bond, among other conditions, the defendant is not to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim, while his case is pending.
THE GOVERNMENT’S CASE
The matter was reported to authorities by the victim’s aunty two months ago. Police who responded spoke to the caller, and the alleged victim and her mother. The defendant who — according to the government — is a friend of the victim’s parents, will not be named in order to protect the identity of the underaged victim.
The defendant was not home when police arrived in the area. A couple that lives next door told investigators that the defendant was living with his girlfriend in Kokoland and he only came to his house on weekends.
According to the victim’s statement to police, one of her neighbors asked her to go to the defendant’s house and ask for his machete to cut their wood. When she got there, he met her at the door and asked her to come in and get something to eat from his refrigerator while he sharpens the machete.
He then went to the back of his house and retrieved the machete and sat on the floor at the kitchen and started sharpening the machete while the victim was sitting on a couch in the living room drinking soda from his refrigerator.
The victim said that out of nowhere, he came and sat on the couch next to her. He then asked her to lock the front door because he didn’t want the neighborhood kids to come by begging for snacks and sodas. The victim said she did as she was told.
Afterwards, according to the victim, she returned to the couch and that’s when Viliamu started to inappropriately touch her. The girl said she tried to escape because she could smell alcohol and she also saw empty beer cans lying on the floor in the kitchen area. She said she knew something was weird by the way he was acting.
The victim told police she pushed the defendant away, causing him to fall off the couch, but he was got up and continued touching her in a sexual manner. In the affidavit, police noted that the victim was confident throughout the interview process. But when she mentioned the inappropriate touching, she began to tear up.
When questioned by police, the victim’s mother said she was aware of the situation, but her daughter waited until her friend came home to inform her about what happened.
According to the mother, this is not the first incident in her family involving the defendant. She said there was an incident that occurred on July 4th of this year, involving him and her daughter, but it was not reported because both parties had settled it.
Police were unable to locate the defendant immediately after they interviewed the victim and her mother in August of this year. Last month, the defendant turned himself in.
When questioned by police, he denied any wrongdoing. He told investigators that he didn’t see the victim at his home on the weekend, and that the only person who visited his house on that Saturday morning was his male friend from Tafuna who came to help him clean his yard.
He said he drank the last of his leftover beer by noon on Saturday, and added that the reason why the victim’s family is making false accusations is because they want him off the land and out of the family.