Man who assaulted his girlfriend is ordered to return to Samoa, after serving time
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Trial Division of the High Court has ordered the sponsor of a man from Samoa who was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend to come forward and fulfill his responsibility under ASG Immigration laws. And that is, paying the defendant’s return airfare to Samoa and restitution of $1,520
In delivering its decision in the government’s case against Ualesi Taumaoe last week, the court told the prosecutor that under local immigration laws, the sponsor who requested that the defendant enter the territory, has an obligation to fulfill.
According to a report provided by Immigration Office to the court, Taumaoe’s sponsor is a family member identified as Lemau Avau.
Taumaoe, 34, was initially charged with first degree assault, second degree assault, felonious restraint, and felony stealing. But under a plea agreement, he pled guilty to second degree assault and felonious restraint. The remaining charges were dismissed.
With his guilty plea, Taumaoe admits that on Dec. 12, 2018 he punched the victim’s face twice before striking her face on the vehicle dashboard multiple times. He also pulled the victim’s hair to avoid her from exiting the vehicle.
When given the chance to speak, Taumaoe apologized and asked for a second chance so he can return home and care for his sick mother. He said he’s remorseful but he can’t do anything to take back what did.
“While in prison, I realized that jail is not a good place for me to be. I’m remorseful and I really miss my family and my children. My dad passed away and I did not do much to care for him, and that’s why I’m asking for another chance, so I can go home to care for my sick mother while she’s still alive, and spend the rest of my life with my children,” a tearful Taumaoe told the court. He said if given a second chance, he will do his best to correct his wrongs and be a good father, moving forward.
“I want to change my life and be a good member of society; but most importantly, I want to return to the normal life I used to have when I was a young boy, being obedient and loving,” he concluded.
His attorney, Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill asked for a probated sentence without any additional period of detention. Despite the fact that this is his client’s second felony conviction, McNeill asked the court to allow Taumaoe to remain in American Samoa so he can find a job to care for his 3 kids.
Prosecutor Laura Garvey asked for probation, to include a short period of detention, with the condition that Taumaoe depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the duration of probation.
According to the government, after speaking with the victim two weeks prior to sentencing, it appears that the victim wants Taumaoe back home. However, the primary concern for the government is the safety of the victim and her 3 kids.
Garvey said the victim’s medical bill is $1,520 and the government is requesting the court to order Taumaoe to pay part of that amount as restitution. “We know the facts of this case are disturbing and the attack to the victim by Mr. Taumaoe was intentional, the injuries were very severe,” the court said.
“We have considered your background and we’ve noticed that this is your second appearance in front of us, despite your first PPD conviction in the District Court back in 2013. However, we also understand the need to protect society from violent people like you.”
The court told Taumaoe that he cannot take back his actions, and the scars to the victim will stay forever and remind her how dangerous the perpetrator was.
For second degree assault, Taumaoe was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. For felonious restraint, he was sentenced to 7 years in jail. The sentences will run concurrently. Execution of the sentences are suspended and Taumaoe is placed on probation for 5 years under certain conditions that include incarceration for 20 months for second degree assault, and 28 months for felonious restraint - without any release whatsoever unless ordered by the court.
After serving 14 months, Taumaoe is ordered to depart the territory and remain outside of its borders for the remainder of probation. He is not to attempt to enter the territory in any way. He is to be released to Probation, who will be responsible for escorting him to the point of departure. While in jail, Taumaoe is not to be on 'trustee status'.
He is also ordered to pay $1,520 restitution, which the court will order his sponsor to fork out, in addition to his ticket back to Samoa. The prosecutor is ordered to forward a copy of the court's judgment to the Chief Immigration Officer, to ensure Taumaoe’s name is included in the 'look out' list.
A woman contacted the Tafuna Substation for assistance after her daughter sustained severe injuries to her facial area. The victim told police that Taumaoe came to her house and picked her up and drove her to Fogagogo. When they arrived in Fogagogo, Taumaoe pulled the car over next to a bush, saying he wanted to talk to her about family matters.
While in the vehicle, Taumaoe punched the victim twice in the face before ramming her head into the dashboard multiple times. The victim’s injuries landed her in the hospital for over a week.