OP ED: ZERO TOLERANCE
Allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced from the ASCC campus. Nov. 2023. With finals looming up in a week, a young 19-year-old female cadet alleges she was sexual propositioned — lewdly — to bring her grades up from borderline failing. No other students were around when the event occurred. She was shaking as she grabbed her books and fled in tears, she said.
21 Nov 23: a police report was filed and all necessary steps were taken to report the incident. A grievance/ disciplinary hearing was conducted through the ASCC Board members.
According to the local investigating police officer, the cadets statement was inadequate to make a charge. Since there were no witnesses and the perpetrator did not touch her, their investigation stopped. The victim and family then filed a second report and statement through the CID office who is currently conducting their own investigation. The local Attorney General’s office is mute pending CID investigation.
Meanwhile, the Honolulu Hawaii ROTC Program office was also informed and statements were provided of the incident. They in turn have notified the USAR Brigade Command in American Samoa that they are launching their own SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) — an independent investigation. Final investigation is pending.
Unfortunately, American Samoa is known for sexual harassment running amok in many local and federally funded government offices, schools, churches, Fono and cultural gatherings.
The worst and highly publicized case of sexual harassment is where ASG failed to take action or intervene when it happened in the work place in Nov. 2016.
As a matter of shameful fact Feb. 2017 (politics at its best) despite heavy controversy and publicity surrounding this person, the now deceased director was honored, lauded and endorsed by the House and Senators 15-3 to continue to serve as the head of the Human and Social Services Department. (SN Feb 14,2017)
Sept. 2023 Hawaii District Court of EEOC ordered ASG to pay $125,000.00 to compensate the victim for the harassment she suffered at the hands of this very Director. The shame against that administration and Fono will never be erased.
To this very day there has been no active training or awareness by the government to prevent Sexual harassment or discrimination within the work force. No emphasis on Mandated Reporting. No laws to prevent sex offenders from working within close proximity of children. The SORNA is an ASG public secret. Law Enforcement needs to be trained beyond ‘no witnesses’, WAKE UP FONO & AG !! Child Sex offenders and predators are absconding and being enabled by the powerful under your very nose.
Schools are back in session. Children and young adults are easy targets by adult predators. Be mindful of vehicle drivers taking them back home or last drop off after school events. Your child is under the power and control of faculty and school staff. It has been proven time and again how children reporting inappropriate behavior by teachers or counselors are being ignored.
Believe the victimized children and young adults. Listen and report their fears. Fight for the children. Predators don’t care who they violate when our system enables them.
Ipu Avegalio Lefiti