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Uncle arrested and charged with sexual abuse

American Samoa District Court building


A 52-year-old man accused of sexually abusing his 15-year-old niece was arrested after authorities were tipped off by the victim’s stepmother.

(In the interest of protecting the minor victim, Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant, who is her uncle. The court affidavit provides the name of the defendant, but the victim is only referred to by her initials.)

The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court last month. He later waived his right to a preliminary examination and the case was bound over to High Court where he entered a ‘not guilty’ plea during arraignment.

He is charged with one count of unlawful possession of meth; 2 counts of sodomy; 3 counts attempted rape; 3 counts of first degree sexual abuse —  all felonies; along with one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Bail is set at $25,000 and a pretrial conference is set for July 1st.

One of the conditions of release — if the defendant is able to post bail — is that he is to have no direct or indirect contact with the victim or any of the government’s witnesses.


It was the victim’s stepmother who notified police about the alleged abuse. According to the government, the defendant’s wife and the victim’s father are first cousins.

The aunt told police that her stepdaughter was seen at the defendant’s house over two months and when she asked the victim what she was doing there, the girl said her uncle (defendant) asked her to come over and help his wife with the laundry.

The stepmother recalled that last month her stepdaughter called and asked if she could pick her up. The woman said she and her son went to the defendant’s house to pick up her stepdaughter, and that’s when she opened up to them about what her uncle did to her one night in March of this year.

According to what the victim told her stepmother, the defendant touched her inappropriately, at his house and in his vehicle. She further claimed that her uncle touched himself in front of her and made her watch.

The victim provided a written statement in Samoan to police.  According to the victim, there were two alleged incidents.

The first happened in December of last year when her uncle came over to her home, woke her up, and told her to come to his house to help his wife with the laundry. At that time, the girl alleges that her uncle inappropriately touched her through her clothing. She said she was afraid because her uncle threatened her, saying that if she told anyone, he would beat her with a hose.

The second incident took place after the defendant was done watching an X-rated movie. According to the girl, the defendant threatened and forced her to take off her shorts, and he allegedly performed sex acts on her. The girl said she was scared and told her friend next door what was going on, and her friend advised her to tell her mother.

The victim told police that she shared her story with her friend’s mother and told her to speak to her parents about the incident.

Police interviewed the victim’s friend and her mother, who confirmed the girl’s story. They stated the victim told them two months ago about the defendant touching and rubbing her inappropriately. They said they told the victim to speak to her parents or call authorities and report the incident.

Police apprehended the defendant at his friend’s home and took him in for questioning. Before he was taken to the Tafuna Police Substation for questioning, he was searched by officers, who found a glass pipe containing white crystalline substance in his pants pocket.

The defendant refused to make a statement to investigators.