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Man charged with sexually abusing his 16-year old sister-in-law

American Samoa District Court building
Cops allege they also found meth and marijuana in his possession

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old sister-in-law was arrested by police last month after the victim’s stepfather filed a complaint with the police. When apprehended, officers discovered illegal drugs in the suspect’s possession.

(Samoa News has chosen not to identify the man due to the victim being underage, despite his being named in court documents.)


The government alleges that on the morning of Nov. 23, 2020, a 53-year-old man walked into the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that his 16-year-old stepdaughter had been sexually abused by his son-in-law, and an interview was conducted. The stepfather told investigators that he has raised the victim since she was 8 months old.

During the course of the police interview, it was discovered that there was another alleged victim also allegedly sexually abused by the suspect during the same time period. The second victim is the stepfather’s biological daughter, who was 15-years-old at the time and now resides with her biological mother in New Zealand.

The stepdaughter told investigators that this stepdaughter, who is the victim in this case, is a 16-year-old girl who is close to his son-in-law (the defendant in this case). After speaking with the stepfather regarding this incident, investigators questioned other members of the family including the victim, the victim’s mother and sisters.

The victim told investigators of several alleged incidents when her brother-in-law sexually abused her, which included inappropriately touching her, dirty-talking to her, exposure of his body and his private parts to her, as well as undressing her while she was sleeping.

The victim said she and her brother-in-law live in the same house.

She described several of the alleged incidents that occurred — one when two of her girlfriends were sleeping over and one of them witnessed the situation; another incident which was interrupted when she called out to her older sister (defendant’s wife) to stop her husband from continuing to inappropriately touch her; and two others, one that happened in the middle of March of 2020 and the other that occurred on May 18, 2020, which was her baby brother’s birthday.

The one in March was where he allegedly tried to sexually abuse her while she was sleeping with her 7-year-old brother in her bedroom. He offered her $100 to have sexual intercourse with him, which she refused, and yelled at him to get out of her room before she called police.

According to the victim, after she yelled at the defendant, he then stood up and walked to his room. She also smelled a strong odor of alcohol coming from the defendant’s breath when he sat close to her. The defendant also threw on the floor a $20 bill and told her, “that’s for you.” The victim picked up the $20 and gave it to the defendant’s wife.

The incident that occurred on May 18, 2020 around 4a.m when her parents were getting ready to go to work, the victim alleged the brother-in-law again attempted to sexually abuse her by inappropriately touching her while she was sleeping in her room. She woke up and told him to leave her room, and he complied.

Investigators interviewed the girlfriend who had woken up in the living room when the defendant allegedly touched the victim, and she confirmed the victim’s account, adding that before the defendant entered the living room while she and her friend (victim) were sleeping, he (defendant) called out from outside for the victim to come out so that they could discuss something important.

She whispered to her friend (victim) not to go and the victim did not go outside to the defendant. It was a few moments later, according the girlfriend that the defendant entered the room naked and tried to touch the victim in a sexual manner.  The victim’s friend told investigators that the victim yelled out to the defendant to go outside before she (victim) called out to her mother.

Investigators also questioned the defendant’s wife regarding the alleged incidents where she confirmed that her younger sister spoke to her about her husband’s inappropriate behavior. She confronted her husband regarding the allegation but he continued to deny it and started to act violently against her and their two young children.

During the time of the investigation, the defendant moved out of the victim’s house and stayed at his sister’s house in Petesa.

Investigators picked up the defendant at his sister’s house and transported him to the TPS for questioning. Before he was transported to the TPS, he was patted down for weapons and during the body search, police discovered a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance and a small plastic baggie containing green leafy substance.

He was then transported to TPS, where he was Mirandized. The defendant waived his rights and made a statement about the allegations against him.

In hIs statement to police, the defendant denied the victim’s account of the incident, and stated that he said some stupid things to the victim that night, but although he had been drinking, he was still aware of what he was doing.

When asked about drugs found on his possession, he told investigators that the drugs belonged to his sister’s husband. He further stated that he found the drugs in his sister’s and husband’s vehicle. He picked it up and put it in his pocket.

After questioning him, the defendant was then booked and confined.

The defendant, 43, made his initial appearance in District Court last month.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies punishable by a term of imprisonment from 5-10 years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both.

He’s also charged with two counts of sodomy, a class B felony, punishable by a term of imprisonment for 5 to15 years; and two counts of 1st degree sexual abuse, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Bail is set at $20,000.

If he posts bond, the court orders the defendant to make all of his court appearances, stay in close contact with his defense attorney, and not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim or her family.