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Man charged with raping his sister's 11-year-old daughter

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 39-year-old man from Samoa who lives in Tafuna was arrested last Monday morning after allegedly raping and molesting an 11-year-old girl several times. According to court documents, the man is the victim's uncle (her mom's brother), and they live in the same house.

Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.

The defendant, who is an over-stayer — his immigration ID expired last year — made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia.

He is facing eight criminal charges, including 3 counts of child molestation, 2 counts of sodomy, and 3 counts of first-degree sexual abuse — all felonies.

Judge Sunia has established bail at $50,000. If he is released on bail, the defendant is ordered not to set foot in the victim's home, and he is not to attempt to make any direct or indirect contact with the victim and her family. He is to find another place to stay while awaiting the outcome of his case.

Furthermore, the defendant is also ordered to remain a law-abiding citizen, stay in close contact with his attorney, and comply with all local laws, including immigration laws. He is not to leave the territory, and he is to turn over his travel documents to the government attorney until the matter is resolved.

The defendant’s preliminary examination (PX) is scheduled for this Friday at 1p.m.


The government claims that on Aug. 19, 2018 a woman reported to police that she caught her brother naked in the bedroom with her daughter. The woman told police she heard her daughter getting up in the middle of the night, around 1:30a.m, and she thought her daughter had gone to use the restroom. However, when she didn’t hear the bathroom door close, she got up to look for her.

The mother also told police that she was suspicious that her brother (defendant) was doing illegal drugs.

Court filings say the girl told police the first incident occurred on Aug. 16, 2018 whereby she woke up and the defendant was lying next to her, touching her back and touching her inappropriately.

The second incident occurred on Aug 18, 2018 when the defendant woke the girl up and told her he needed to talk to her at his house. The victim followed him, and that’s when the two had sexual intercourse. The victim told police she was a virgin when the incident occurred.

Court filings say the victim told a social worker that her uncle raped her. The victim explained that she was sleeping in the living room with her mother and cousin when her uncle woke her up.

She claims her uncle was drunk and told her he needed to talk to her in his room and she attempted to wake up her mother but she did not wake up. According to court filings, the victim said the defendant grabbed her and pushed her towards his house and had sex with her even though she told him to stop.

The victim said she tried to yell but the defendant told her to be quiet. “Victim told defendant to stop and told him he was hurting her but defendant again told her to be quiet; victim again pleaded with him to let her go home and that he was hurting her stomach but defendant told her stop and be quiet,” the court affidavit notes.

It also points out that during the police interview, the defendant admitted that he has had feelings for his niece for a very long time and that he’s aroused every time he sees her. Court filings further state that the first incident occurred when the defendant went to fetch an iPod charger and the girl was sleeping, with her shirt halfway up to her breast, and that’s when he touched her on her private parts.

The second incident occurred on Aug. 19, 2018 when the two had sex in Tafuna.

The defendant has denied accusations by his sister that he is on drugs. He told police he only drinks alcohol; he doesn’t do drugs.