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Uncle in custody after allegedly raping his 16-year-old niece

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA —A 36-year-old uncle accused of raping his 16-year-old niece was arrested last month and is now in custody. When arrested by police, illegal drugs were discovered in the defendant’s possession.

The government claims that the alleged sexual abuse began last year, when the victim was 15-years-old. To protect the identity of the victim — a minor — Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name. (The defendant, who is not new to the court system, is first cousins with the victim’s mother.)

It was the victim’s aunt who reported the alleged incident to police, which resulted in the arrest of the defendant in this matter.

According to the woman, her nephew (the defendant) whom she warned previously about not coming near her residence was seen roaming around her house, as if trying to provoke something.

When cops responded, the woman told the police that her nephew left after she scolded him. When asked why she doesn’t want her nephew to come around, the woman shared a horrifying tale about what she allegedly heard from her family about things her nephew had done to one of her nieces, who is the victim in this case.

She said several family members had caught her nephew doing nasty things to her 16-year-old niece. She further told police that the matter was never reported to authorities because it is an embarrassment to their family. Her two daughters also wanted to keep the incident within the family.

She said she decided to call police when her nephew showed up at her home that night, because it appears that he doesn’t care about what happened to her niece, however, her other three nieces told her not to make the call.

According to the woman’s statement to police, it was early September of last year that her other nephew (the victim’s brother) caught the defendant sexually abusing the victim at the back of their family pickup truck parked at the back of the house.

The woman said her nephew told her what happened and when she confronted the defendant that same evening, he allegedly admitted to it and immediately apologized for his actions. He then begged for her forgiveness saying he’s remorseful for what he did. She further stated that prior to the November incident, the defendant was caught multiple times inside the victim’s room while the victim was sleeping.

According to the woman, there were two other incidents last year, where one of her nieces found the defendant in the victim’s room massaging the victim’s chest and body while the victim was sleeping. When the niece intervened and told him to leave, the defendant peacefully left the room.

When questioned by police, the victim confirmed everything her aunt told authorities including that the sexual abuse started last year, with the last encounter being in February of this year, and described by the victim as an alleged rape.

The victim told police she tried to push the defendant off, telling him he was hurting her but he continued to hold her down and performed sexual acts on her.

Moments later, the victim’s male cousin walked in and caught the defendant in the act. The victim’s cousin immediately ran back inside the house pretending that he never saw anything. The defendant gave the victim $10 and instructed her not to tell anyone.

According to the victim, the sexual abuse started last year, when she was 15-years-old. She recalled the first incident, saying she was in her bedroom when the defendant knocked on the door. She said she opened the door; the defendant walked in, and locked the door behind him.

She said the defendant told her he wanted to have sex with her but she refused and told him to leave and the defendant left. On the same night while she was sleeping, the defendant forced his way into her bedroom and inappropriately touched her.

The victim said she woke up and tried to push the defendant away but he was too strong. He merely pushed the victim’s hands away, held her down, and continued to force himself on her. The defendant left the room after the victim’s female cousin told him to get out of the house.

On separate occasions, according to the victim, the defendant would catch her outside of the house and touch her body in a sexual manner.

 She said the defendant would tell her not to tell anyone, and he would give her $10- $20 to remain silent. The victim said she didn’t tell anyone about her encounters with the defendant because she was embarrassed and she might be blamed for it.

An eyewitness — a female relative — interviewed by police said she caught the defendant standing naked inside the victim’s room one night while the victim was sleeping in the same room. She said she asked the defendant what he was doing in the victim’s room but the defendant told her to be quiet; however she reported the incident to the victim’s aunt who scolded the defendant and chased him out of the house.

The victim’s male cousin, also an eyewitness, told police that in September of last year, he caught the defendant performing sexual acts on the victim, while the victim tried to push the defendant away.

Last month, police went to the home of a friend of the defendant in Tafuna and apprehended him, and the defendant was taken to the police station for questioning.

Before he was taken to the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) for questioning, the defendant was patted down and police discovered a baggie containing a white crystalline substance and a glass pipe also containing a white crystalline substance.

The white crystalline substance was tested and the result was positive for methamphetamine.

When asked about the allegations, the defendant admitted to police of sexually abusing his niece and allegedly confirmed what the whole family had told authorities.

According to the government, the defendant lives with relatives near the victim’s home but he goes to the victim’s home everyday to help out with chores for his aunt.

The defendant further stated to investigators that he’s truly sorry for what he did and he deserved to be locked up for his actions.

The defendant made his initial appearance in Court last month.

The government has filed two separate cases against the defendant.

In the first case, the defendant is charged with two counts of rape; two counts of sodomy; and two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, all felonies. He is also facing two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

In the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine, a felony.

Bond is set at $50,000.


The defendant was convicted by the High Court in 2010 pursuant to a plea agreement with the government for the charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).

He was ordered to serve a period of detention of 20 months at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF).

The defendant’s conviction stems from an incident where a man who was waiting for a bus at a bus stop in Fagatogo contacted the Central Police Office in Fagatogo regarding a male individual who was selling marijuana joints to several people in the Fagatogo area.

Police responded to the call and noticed a crowd of people gathered at the back side of the market where the defendant was standing. During a body search, police discovered 15 hand rolled marijuana joints inside the left pocket of the defendant’s pants, wrapped inside a red T-shirt.