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Uncle accused of inappropriate touching asks for a jury trial

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 46-year-old uncle accused of inappropriate touching will fight the allegations against him at trial. Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.  

According to the government’s case, the defendant is accused of inappropriately touching his 13-year-old niece. The victim told police that since that day back in December of 2017, the defendant continued to touch her in the same sexual manner until February of last year, the government alleges.

The victim eventually reported the matter to her school counselor, who questioned her about a prolonged absence from school.

The defendant is charged with one count each of sodomy, a class B felony punishable by five to 15 years; deviate sexual assault, a class C felony, punishable by up to seven years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both; and sexual abuse in the first degree, a class D felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both.

The uncle is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of $1,000 or both.

This matter was called for a pre-trial conference last week and Public Defender Mike White informed the court they have yet to come to a resolution on this matter and they are moving to have this case go forward to trial.

The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest, is held on a $30,000 bail.


Judge Elvis P. Patea has sentenced Masoe Vaatofu to 12 months probation for misdemeanor assault.

Vaatofu appeared in District Court last week for a pretrial conference where he pled guilty to third degree assault under a plea agreement with the government.

In return, the remaining charge of private peace disturbance was dismissed.

According to information revealed in court, Vaatofu had slapped the victim in the face, during an altercation that was reported to police earlier this year.

In addition to probation, Vaatofu is ordered to pay a fine of $100 within 30 days.


A man charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) appeared in High Court last week for arraignment.

Tau "Scott" Ala is in custody with bail set at $5,000

He made his initial appearance in District Court his past Tuesday, and his preliminary examination election was Thursday, after which his case was bound over.

The charge against him stem from incident that occurred last Saturday, March 9 in the Iliili area. According to the government's case, police were patrolling the area when they observed a yellow van without any license plate lights.

A routine traffic stop was initiated near Lupelele Elementary School.

Two males were in the vehicle.

The driver identified himself as Scott Ala a.k.a. Tau Ala.

According to the criminal complaint, Ala was found to be in possession of a glass pipe commonly used to smoke meth. The crystalline substance inside the glass pipe tested positive for meth.

If convicted, Ala could face a term of imprisonment of not less than five but not more than ten years; and a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $20,000 or both.

Ala is represented by the Public Defender's Office while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.