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Mother claims daughter was assaulted after confrontation in their home

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 32-year-old man from Poloa was arrested last week for allegedly assaulting a woman.

The government claims that on Dec. 5, 2018, a woman walked into the Tafuna Substation to report her daughter was punched in the mouth by a man named Lani Selota at their home in Poloa.

According to the victim's verbal statement to police, after her brother was arrested for alleged child abuse, she told her nieces to go home. That’s when Selota walked in and confronted her about yelling at the kids.

The victim claims that Selota yelled profanities at her in Samoan and punched her  on the left cheek.

Selota then left but continued to cuss at her.

Later that night, Selota went to the Tafuna Substation and agreed to provide a written statement regarding the incident.

Selota verbally stated to police that he was angry because the victim was swearing at his nieces and chased them home. He said the victim kept mouthing off and she even threw a cell phone at him. He then slapped the victim on the mouth and she responded by throwing a can of peaches at him.

The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He was represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson, while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

He is charged with third degree assault and private peace disturbance (PPD).

After court proceedings yesterday, District Court Judge Fiti Sunia released the defendant on his own recognizance. He was ordered not to make any contact with the victim or her family, and he is to keep the peace in his village at all times.

Selota is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference on Jan. 28, 2019.