Man charged with assault, victim alleges the man sexually abused his daughter
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 42-year-old man accused of assaulting another man in Aua last month is scheduled to appear in Court this Thursday for a Status Hearing. The government’s attorney informed the court three weeks ago that there is a possibility additional charges would be filed against the defendant on the allegation that he sexually abused a 15-year-old female.
(Despite the names appearing in the police report, Samoa News has chosen to not name the individuals in this report to protect the privacy of the daughter.)
The 42-year-old made his initial appearance in court three weeks ago.
He is charged with trespass; public peace disturbance (PPD) and 3rd degree assault and armed with a dangerous weapon; all misdemeanors.
Bail is set at $2,500. 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 TPS for assistance after a fight escalated between her uncle and a man who is known to their family as a groundsman. He was later identified as the defendant in this matter.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with a woman who identified herself as the reporter. Officers also observed a crowd of people gathered around while two men tried to keep another male individual from going inside the house.
People who were at the scene were able to record the alleged incident on their cell phones.
Officers settled everyone down and managed to control the situation before they spoke to some of the witnesses who were at the scene during the time of the alleged incident.
The woman who made the call explained to police that it was around 8 p.m on that evening when she heard people arguing from her uncle’s home two houses away from her house. She ran to her uncle’s house and found her uncle fighting with a male individual.
She tried to find out what triggered the fight, and her uncle’s wife told her that the defendant, who is the groundsman, who came to clean their yard, 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 him for many years and he always does the clean up work for his family and other families in the village.
He said, on Saturday, Oct. 10th around 2p.m, he called the defendant to come and clean his yard saying he would give him money as he had always done in the past. The defendant agreed and he turned up at his house around 11a.m to start his job.
The uncle told police that the man was left alone to clean the yard while he and his wife went to Leone to visit his brother and his family. He stated that his15-year-daughter was sleeping inside the house along with his two young sons when he and his wife left.
The defendant 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 with tears and told him that something bad happened between her and the groundsman.
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 him kneeling on the side of the couch where she was sleeping. She immediately stood up and walked into her room, while at the same time yelling at the man to get out of the house.
The victim told her father that the defendant apologized to her for what he did and immediately took off. She also smelled a strong odor of alcohol inside the house during the time he was there.
The victim’s father tried to call the defendants phone but he never answered. He also visited his house three times on the same day but he was never at home.
Two days later on Oct. 12th around 8 p.m, the groundsman and another man visited the victim’s home. He confronted the victim’s father and asked him about rumors that he sexually abused his daughter.
As the victim’s father tried to speak to him, the defendant allegedly punched him in the face causing him to fall. He also kicked the man in his back and facial area multiple times before he took off. The man who was with the defendant during the time of the indent also took off.
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, the defendan was transported to the TPS for further investigation.
He was Mirandized after which he informed investigators that he understood his rights and wished to make a statement about what allegedly happened.
When questioned by investigators, he strongly denied the allegation against him.
He told investigators that after doing the clean up of the family’s yard, 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. Tevita turned around and told the lady (victim) he was doing the clean up for their family’s yard 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.
He further stated that after cleaning the yard he then walked to the refrigerator located in the kitchen to get some water to drink. He also took some food from the table as he always did in the past whenever he did clean up work for this family.
He told investigators that he made a lot of noise while performing his job and he was also singing. He also consumed 6 cans of beer. He did not know that there was anyone with him inside the house. According to him, he has known the family for many 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, he said, no. He told investigators that he never had any intention to do such an act because he doesn’t want to be locked up.
He said that he has a free life and he doesn’t want to be in prison because he is enjoying what he’s doing to earn a living for him and his family.
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, 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 he had come in to take something to drink and food to eat before he left after cleaning up their yard. The defendant told investigators that it was then that the daughter shouted at him to get out of the house before she called the 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 the case, including the defendant, the defendant was arrested and transported to the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was booked and detained.