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Young man held on rape charges after his girlfriend’s mother takes action

American Samoa District Court building
Defendant & victim say it was a consensual relationship

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 20-year-old young man from Samoa was arrested last week for engaging in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. It was the young girl’s mother reporting the matter to police that led to the arrest of the defendant, after her daughter was found sneaking out late at night.

The government claims that around 9:27p.m, last week Friday, July 10th, 2020, a 43-year-old mother from Vailoa contacted the Leone Police Substation (LPS) to report that her 15-year-old daughter was repeatedly sneaking out late at night from her uncle’s residence, and she wanted police to question her about what she is up to.

The mother became suspicious that something was going on with her daughter and someone else, and she wanted to stop the situation. She told police that she is with her daughter, who is refusing to go with her back home and she wants police to speak to her about why she refuses to come back home.

Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the mother who briefed officers regarding what had happened. Afterwards, she was advised by officers to come with her daughter to LPS to sort out what was going on.

The daughter is named in the court affidavit as C.P, the victim in this case.

The victim was interviewed by two police officers on why she keeps sneaking out of her uncle’s house late at night without her mother knowing.

At first, the victim would not speak regarding the situation, however she eventually told the officers that she was currently in a relationship with her boyfriend, Senio Tovia (defendant), a 20-year-old male from Malaeloa. She also provided an an oral and a written statement regarding her relationship with Tovia.

According to the victim’s statement to police, she sneaks out from her uncle’s residence because she wants to go chill with her friends. She told police officers that she starting having a relationship with her boyfriend around October 2019 when she met him on Facebook.

They started their relationship by sharing love messages on Facebook and even talking on the phone until Feb. 01, 2020 where they both agreed to meet and they had sexual intercourse, for the first time. C.P then recounted to police further incidences when they had sexual relations.

She further admited that they would meet up late at night either near her home or in front of the retail store across from Leone High School. She also told police that everything that happened between them was through a consensual relationship.

After hearing the victim’s statement, police officers proceeded to the defendant’s home in an effort to locate him. As the police unit approach the area, police officers observed a young male in front of the defendant’s home. The male identified himself to police officers as Senio Tovia, the defendant in this matter.

Tovia was informed about the reason why police came to his residence and asked him if he would come to the LPS for questioning and he agreed.

Tovia was informed of his Constitutional rights to which he aid he was aware and signed that he understood his rights and agreed to speak to police regarding the alleged incident.

According to Tovia’s statement to police, the relationship with C.P started from Facebook that led to a conversation on the phone and meeting up at certain places in the Leone area. He told police that they were in a relationship for about 9 months starting from October 2019 until this month, July, 2020.

He stated to police that it had been four months since relationship started, that was February 2020, that’s when he started to have a sexual relationship with the victim. The victim would call him and meet up at random places near his house or near the victim’s home in Leone.

The defendant made it clear to police that nothing was done by force.

Tovia was later booked and confined at the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) to await his court appearance and for a warrant to be processed.

Tovia made his initial appearance before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea in District Court this week. He’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Bob Stuart while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Tovia is charged with two counts of rape and one count of sodomy, all class B felonies, punishable by term of imprisonment of not less than five years nor more than fifteen years.

Due to the seriousness of the alleged crime, Tovia is being held in custody without bail.