Two men arrested for attempted rape of mentally challenged young girl
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two men were arrested by police last week on the allegation that one of them attempted to rape a young girl who is said to be mentally challenged, while the other held her down in an effort to prevent her from leaving.
The two men, Luteru Pedro and Tavita Tuigamala made their initial appearance in District Court last week.
Pedro is charged with one count of attempted rape while Tuigamala is charged with one count of felonious restraint, both class C felonies, punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Bail is set at $5,000 for each defendant.
During their initial appearance last week, defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart informed the court that both of his clients wished to waive their rights for a preliminary examination and wanted the case bound over to the High Court for further proceedings.
Pedro, 39, and Tuiagamala, 28, appeared in High Court last week for arraignment. Their pretrial conference is scheduled for next month.
On Aug. 20, 2020 at approximately 10:08p.m, a male individual contacted the Tafuna Police Station (TPS) reporting several individuals fighting in front of a store in Nu’uuli. Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the man who called and he pointed out to police officers the location of the alleged incident.
Officers arrived and observed two female individuals sitting on the rail across from a home near the scene. The two female individuals were later identified as the sister of the alleged victim and her daughter.
According to the victim’s sister, she told police that her sister was allegedly raped by two male individuals who were later identified as Pedro and Tuigamala, the two defendants in this matter.
The victim’s sister told police that she and her daughter went to look for her sister and when they arrived at the corner of the store, she heard the victim crying and calling for help. The victim’s sister stated that she immediately ran towards the victim and observed Tuigamala standing behind the victim grabbing and holding her down to the ground while Pedro forcibly tore off the victim’s jeans and attempt to rape her and kiss her on her lips.
The victim’s sister stated that it was at that time when her daughter took action and defended the victim by punching Pedro in his face, while she (victim’s sister) was assisting her daughter by grabbing Pedro and pushing him to the ground, but Pedro kept fighting back.
The victim’s sister further stated to police that suddenly Tuigamala pretended that he was helping out the victim. Both defendants immediately fled the scene after the incident, and assisted by her daughter — they brought the victim to the front of the road to wait for the police unit to arrive at the scene. The victim’s sister also gave officers descriptions of the two defendants.
The victim’s sister told police that the victim has mental issues.
Officers were able to interview the victim regarding the alleged incident. While approaching the victim who was sitting on the ground, officers observed her pants ripped; and she was scared and traumatized.
The victim was taken to the LBJ Medical Hospital for medical assistance by EMS personnel before she was transported back to TPS for questioning.
On the same day, three police officers proceeded to the area in an effort to locate the two suspects. A bystander, a male, agreed to help officers try to locate the two suspects, identifying them and noting the defendants had a drinking session in the back of the store where the alleged matter took place.
He further told officers that he knows where the two suspects live. Upon arrival at the suspects’ residence, the bystander pointed out the house where both individuals were sitting on the front porch of the house.
Officers approached and apprehended both defendants and transported them to the TPS for further investigation. While doing so, one of the officers took photographs of the two suspects for confirmation by the victim in this case. Officers also detected a strong odor of alcohol on their breath.
Officers showed pictures of the two suspects to the victim while she was at the LBJ Hospital and she confirmed that the two photos were of the two male individuals who had attempted to rape her at the back of a store in Nu’uuli.
According to the victim’s statement to police, she was drinking with four individuals at the back of the store — two left the drinking session, while the other two male individuals attempted to rape her, with one holding her down, and the other ripping her pants and attempting to have sex with her.
Officers interviewed another witness regarding the alleged matter. According to the witness, he saw Tuigamala and Pedro trying to pull the hand of a female while at the same time the female was crying out for help. He was about to intervene when he saw two female individuals rush to the scene to help the victim.
The witness further stated to police that Pedro and Tuigamala are his friends.