Man charged with assault may also be charged with sexual abuse
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of assaulting another man in Kokoland last month is scheduled to appear in Court next Monday for a Status Hearing. The government’s attorney informed the court two weeks ago that there is a possibility additional charges would be filed against the defendant on the allegation that he sexually abused a 16-year-old female.
Fareti Ameko made his initial appearance in court two weeks ago.
He is charged with trespass; public peace disturbance (PPD) and 3rd degree assault; all misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $1,000. The court informed the defendant that bail would be increased if the government files additional charges against him.
The government claims that a woman called the Tafuna Police Substation for assistance after a fight escalated between her brother and a man who is known to their family as a carpenter. He was later identified as Fareti Ameko, the defendant in this matter.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with a woman who identified herself as the person who made the call. Officers also observed a crowd of people gathered around while two men tried to keep another male individual from going inside the house.
Officers settled everyone down and managed to control the situation.
The woman who made the call explained to police that it was around 8p.m on that evening, July 23rd when she heard people arguing from her brother’s home next to her house. She ran to her brother’s house and found her brother fighting with another male individual. That male individual was later identified as Ameko
She tried to find out what triggered the fight between her brother and the defendant, and her brother’s wife told her that the defendant, who is the carpenter who does repairs around their house allegedly touched her daughter in a sexual manner while her daughter was sleeping on a couch in their living room.
Investigators turned to the man allegedly involved in the fight with the defendant, who explained he has known Ameko for almost 10 years and he has worked fixing their house during that time.
He said, on Saturday, July 18th around 1p.m, he called Ameko to come and fix his bathroom’s plumbing. Ameko was left alone to fix the man’s bathroom’s water while the man and his wife went to the pastor’s house. The man’s 16-year-daughter was sleeping inside the house when her parents left to go to the pastor’s house.
Ameko had already left the house when the couple arrived back home. According to the man’s statement to police, he was standing at the side of his vehicle when his daughter approached him and told him that something bad happened between her and the carpenter guy.
When he asked his daughter what she meant, her daughter told him that she was sleeping in the living room when she felt someone touching her inappropriately. That’s when she woke up and saw Ameko kneeling on the side of the couch where she was sleeping. She immediately stood up and walked inside her room, grabbed her phone and took a picture of Ameko while he was still inside the house.
The victim’s father tried to call Ameko’s phone but he never answered. He also visited his house twice on the same day but he was not at home.
Two days later on July 20th around 8p.m, Ameko and another man visited the victim’s home. Ameko confronted the victim’s father and asked him about rumors that he sexually abused his daughter.
As the victim’s father tried to talk to Ameko, the defendant allegedly punched him in the face causing him to fall on the ground.
Investigators interviewed the victim and she confirmed to police her father’s statement about what happened.
After considering all the information regarding the alleged incident, Ameko was transported to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for further investigation.
Ameko was given his constitutional rights after which he informed investigators that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement about what allegedly happened.
Ameko strongly denied the allegation against him and explained to investigators what had happened. He told them that after fixing the bathroom water, he made his way to the back door when he heard a lady calling out his name and instructing him to get out of the house. Ameko turned around and told the lady (victim) he was fixing their bathroom water and the reason why she hadn’t noticed that he was inside the house was the fact she was sleeping in the living room the whole time.
Ameko further stated that after fixing the bathroom’s water, he then walked to the kitchen in an effort to turn on the water at the kitchen to make sure the water inside the bathroom and the kitchen was flowing again with no more problems.
He told investigators that he made a lot of noise while performing his job and he was also singing. He did not know that there was anyone with him inside the house. According to him, he has known the family over ten years and he considered the couple and their children as his own family.
When asked by the investigator if there was anytime he walked into the living room and allegedly touched the victim in a sexual manner. The defendant said, no.
He told the investigator that he never went to the living room. He said that while he was standing in the middle of the kitchen, he heard someone walking in the house. He turned and saw the couple’s daughter’s make her way to the kitchen. According to the defendant’s statement to investigators, the couple’s daughter looked like she had just woken up.
It was during that time the daughter asked him what is he doing in their house. He told her that was fixing the bathroom water and he came inside the kitchen to check if there was any more problem with the water flow in the kitchen. The defendant told investigators that it was then that the daughter shouted out to him to get out of the house before she called police. He also saw the daughter pull out her phone and take a picture of him while he was standing in the kitchen.
After considering all information from everyone involved in this case including the defendant, the defendant was arrested and transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and detained.