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Court Report

reporters@samoanews.com

PARENTS CHARGED FOR ALLEGED BEATING  OF DAUGHTER

A mother and father made their initial appearance before the District Court yesterday morning on allegations that they badly beat their daughter over the weekend. The father spent the weekend in jail, while the mother was booked and released because she has minor children.

Samoa News is withholding the names of the defendants to protect the identity of the daughter involved.

Police affidavit says the incident started when the father was scolding his daughter “not to run away from home anymore”. However, the daughter talked back to her father and said “no one can stop me from doing what I want to do”.

It’s alleged the father then fetched a water hose and began striking his daughter several times. Police affidavit says the mother intervened and then cut her daughter’s hair with a pair of scissors and slapped her mouth. The police affidavit says the father taped his daughter’s hand and repeatedly struck her with a water hose and repeatedly threatened her.

It’s alleged the daughter was able to get away from her parents and when she met up with some people on the road, police were contacted. Emergency Medical Services were also contacted, and the daughter was taken to the hospital where she was treated and released.

Police affidavit says the victim suffered bruises and lacerations all over her body.

The parents are charged with assault in the third degree and public peace disturbance, however the government is conducting further investigation to determine if more charges should be filed.

The father is being held in custody on bail of $200. The daughter has been placed with other family members.

TONE PULOU

The former elementary school teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year old female student, which resulted in the girl’s pregnancy appeared before the High Court yesterday morning.

The request for the continuance was made by Tone Pulou’s lawyer, for both parties to work on a resolution to this matter. Associate Justice Lyle Richmond granted the request and rescheduled the case to March 22, 2012.

The twenty-six year old former teacher has denied the charges of rape, sexual abuse in the first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Pulou, who remains in custody of police, was in court yesterday for a pre trial conference hearing and is represented by Assistant Public Defender David White.

According to court documents, the girl told police that she had sexual intercourse with Pulou starting around September 2009 and ending February 2011. The case came to light when the female student and her mother went to see the OBGYN at LBJ Medical Center, who then contacted Protective Services that the girl was pregnant.

Pulou fled the territory to Australia last year when the government moved to file charges.

In October 2011 when Pulou visited relatives in Hawai’i, he was arrested by FBI agents based on a warrant issued by the local District Court.

JASON MUASAU AND VATIA TUGAGA

The government’s case against two men accused of assaulting a Caucasian man in his 70s while he was sleeping onboard his yacht has been continued to March 22, 2012.

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin told the court that additional time is needed while they work on a resolution with the government.

Court filings state the defendants, Jason Muasau and Vatia Tugaga, allegedly used a piece of wooden log to float over to the victim’s yacht that was affixed in Pago Pago. It’s alleged the defendants attacked the man while he was sleeping.

According to the government’s case the defendants choked the man twice, first with an electric cord and secondly with a strap. The victim said he was able to wedge his fingers between the strap and his neck to keep it from choking him.

Court files say the victim told police that he lost consciousness and saw flashing lights, and when he regained consciousness, he again called out for help. While the defendants were allegedly assaulting the victim, police officers on a marine patrol vessel were heading to the scene after receiving a call from a neighbor who contacted police after seeing the two men paddling over to the yacht.

 When police arrived,  the defendants jumped off the boat and tried to swim away, however they were caught. The victim, who was taken to the hospital, suffered a broken tooth, and numerous bruises and lacerations to the body which required 30 stitches.

The pair are charged with first-degree assault, burglary in the first degree, felonious restraint and resisting arrest. They are still in police custody on bail of $100,000.



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