Uncle and father of four accused of sexually assaulting his young niece
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man was arrested by police two months ago after allegations arose that he sexually assaulted his 15-year-old niece, both of whom live in the same house.
The victim, along with a relative made the report to police after the alleged incident took place.
Samoa News is withholding names of parties involved in this case to protect the identity of the victim.
The defendant, a 45-year-old father of four young children, is being charged with 6 criminal counts that include two counts of sodomy; two counts of 1st degree sexual abuse, all class B felonies, punishable by imprisonment from 5 to 15 years; and two counts of 3rd degree assault, both class C misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen days, and a fine of up to $300, or both.
The defendant made his initial appearance last month where the court established his bail at a $35,000, surety bond.
If he can post bond, the court orders that the defendant is not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim or government witnesses; he is to surrender his travel documents to the government attorney, and he is not to leave or attempt to leave the territory without a written order of the court.
The defendant refused to sign the copy of his arrest warrant that was attached to the affidavit to notify the court that he had received the copy of the arrest warrant and the government’s affidavit.
The government claims that on Sept. 26, 2020 the victim (who is named in the affidavit as (VT) and her sister walked into the Central Police Station and reported that the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted VT in her home.
A detective from the DPS Criminal Investigation Bureau (CID) was assigned to investigate the matter. The victim was interviewed by two CID detectives.
The government’s case indicates that the defendant and the victim, who are both from Samoa lived in the same house at the time of the alleged sexual assault.
The victim told investigators the first incident happened on Sept. 4, 2020 around 4:50a.m, when the defendant woke her up (victim) to prepare breakfast for their 78-year-old aunt and iron her school uniforms and the defendant’s clothes.
It was while the victim was preparing breakfast for the family that the defendant allegedly hugged her from behind, kissed her neck, and inappropriately touched the victim. The victim walked away and told the defendant to stop his stupid actions, but the defendant laughed and told the victim that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
Immediately after this alleged incident, the victim reported it to her eldest sister and her aunt, and the sister in turn reported it to their mother who is in Samoa.
The victim’s mother told her to come home to Samoa, if it happened again. The victim’s mother also called the defendant from Samoa and scolded him for sexually abusing her daughter. The defendant allegedly immediately apologized to the victim’s mother on the phone and promised her that nothing would happen again.
Five days after the first alleged incident another alleged incident happened inside the same home.
The victim told police in her statement that on Sept. 9, 2020, she did not go to school because she had completed her exams and she was instructed by her elder sister to stay behind and prepare food for the elderly aunt. She then asked her sister to give her $20 to buy something for the aunt’s breakfast.
Before the defendant left the house for work, he knew that his niece was not going to school, and around 9:30a.m, he came back home and told the victim that he’s not feeling good and he wanted to stay home and help her cook food for their aunt.
Both the defendant and the victim were in the house, while the 78-year-old aunt lives in a house located behind the home where the victim and the defendant live.
The defendant went to his room and got in his bed while the victim was lying on the couch in the living room watching TV and sometimes walked around the house doing her clean up.
The victim told investigators it was while she was bending down cleaning the floor in the kitchen, that she felt someone touching her inappropriately from behind, immediately stood up and looked around and saw the defendant standing behind her, laughing.
The victim scolded the defendant and told him to get out of the house however the defendant was laughing and told the victim to come with him into his room so that he could prove something to her. She did not go.
Instead, she stopped cleaning the floor and walked into her room. It was later decided to go to the living room to watch TV, where the defendant once again approached her and allegedly started to tickle her and kiss her, but she slapped him and told him to stop. She then stood up, walked into her room and locked the door.
However, the defendant used a butter knife to open the door and made his way inside her room and found the victim lying on her bed. The defendant then forced himself on VT by removing her clothes, while she struggled and held her hands. He was too strong for her to get away from him, she said.
The victim told investigators that she was really scared and told the defendant to stop what he was doing, but the defendant continued to sexually abuse her while she was crying and continued to ask him to stop.
When the defendant finally stopped, he then asked the victim for her forgiveness. He also gave the victim $40 for her school fare and lunch.
It was after this incident when the victim’s sister kicked the defendant out of the house and he went to live with a friend in the Tafuna area.
On the following day, the victim was examined by a doctor at the LBJ Hospital, and a sexual assault report was completed.
The defendant was arrested at his friend’s house in Tafuna pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.
During an interview with police, the defendant strongly denied all the allegations against him after he was Mirandized.
However, when investigators informed him about the victim’s statement, the defendant then told investigators that he wanted to tell them his side of the story.
According to the defendant’s statement to investigators, it all started at the beginning of 2019 when the victim came into his room and asked him if she could borrow money from him to send to her mother in Samoa, and she would do anything for him.
The defendant gave money to the victim but at the same time he was confused about what things the victim would exactly do for him. Days went by and the victim continued to borrow money from the defendant to send to her mother and family in Samoa.
However, according to the defendant’s statement to investigators, it was last year when the victim approached him and asked if they could start a relationship. The defendant said he rejected the offer and blamed the victim for continually coming to him for money.
The defendant further stated to investigators that on the day of the alleged incident, they had a conversation, and started kissing. The defendant admitted going to the victim’s bedroom where he performed more sexual acts on her. He further told police that the victim consented to the encounter.
The victim’s mother is the defendant’s aunt.