Man charged with alleged assault of his infant niece and her mother
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man has been charged with allegedly assaulting a one-year old and her mother.
On October 11, 2023, the defendant was charged with three criminal counts:
Count 1: Private Peace Disturbance (Domestic Violence), a class B misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to six months, a fine of $500, but not less that $150, or both;
Count 2: Assault in the 3rd degree (DV), a class D felony punishable by a term of imprisonment up to five (5) years, a fine of up to $5,000, but not less than $150, or both; and,
Count 3: Endangering the Welfare of a Child (DV), a class D felony punishable by a term of imprisonment up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, but not less than $150, or both.
His bail was set at $1,000.
The court affidavit states that on October 8, 2023, they received a call from a female stating that her brother was disturbing the peace at their family residence in Vaitogi.
Upon arrival at the residence, the officers met with the caller who claimed to be one of the victims. She briefly explained to the officers what had occurred.
(Because one of the victim’s is a one-year old child, Samoa News has chosen not to publish the names of the victims or defendant.)
She stated that the defendant, her brother, accused her of damaging his electric fan. The defendant became angry and started yelling words of profanity which alarmed their household. As the victim tried to calm the defendant, he attempted to assault her.
Fortunately, her mother intervened but because of this, the defendant was furious which resulted with him slapping the victim’s one-year old daughter that was in his way as he walked around the house. The victim stated that her daughter’s facial area was hit against the wall when the defendant slapped her.
Their mother tried to calm the defendant, who was still yelling profanities towards the victim. Suddenly, their mother collapsed and was eventually transported to the hospital. The defendant fled the scene when the victim contacted the police.
The victim further explained, according to the affidavit, that this was not the first time the defendant has disturbed the peace within their family. The defendant was arrested previously for the same issue.
The one-year old child sustained no injury except for redness on her right cheek and medical assistance was denied by her mother. The mother was advised to request medical treatment if the child developed any impairment to her health.
The officers also obtained a statement from a 15-year-old witness that said she heard her aunt (the victim) and the defendant arguing while she was playing on her cell phone. She also explained that she saw the defendant walk towards the one-year old child, her niece and “slapped her against the wall”.
The defendant was not intoxicated and five minors (ranging from 1-15 years old) were present during the commission of the crime and were scared throughout the ordeal, a note in the affidavit states.
Police officers patrolled the village of Vaitogi to locate the defendant and he was observed near a retail store. However, he took off on foot when he saw the police car approaching. The victim was advised to call the authorities if the defendant returns home and she agreed to do so.
It is unknown at this time if the defendant has since been arrested by police.
The defendant is a US national and is in his twenties.