Government finds couple “suitable candidates” for counseling program following child beating
An Utulei couple charged for beating their 13-year-old daughter has entered into an agreement with the government.
The parents had been charged with public peace disturbance, third degree assault and child endangerment however the government has filed a stipulation to a non-judicial resolution with the couple.
Samoa News has withheld the names of the couple to protect the identity of their daughter.
The plea deal which was announced in the District Court states that the Attorney General has statutory authority, pursuant to ASCA 145.2015 and with the recommendation of the Department of Human and Social Services, to divert from prosecution any person accused of child abuse and neglect.
The government finds the couple are suitable candidates for the diversion program with the Social Services, in which they must undergo family counseling, anger management courses, complete parenting classes, refrain from any punishment of any child, and remain law abiding citizens.
If the couple successfully completes the Diversion program the government will not proceed with prosecution.
The diversion program is of one year duration unless it is extended after the government and socials services review. The program can also be shortened at the discretion of the same agencies. The Social Services will monitor the couple’s progress with the diversion program.
The agreement also states the couple must provide Social Services and the government with documents demonstrating the couple’s participation and completion in all the programs they agreed to undertake.
The plea deal between the couple and the government was accepted by District Court Judge John Ward, who scheduled a status hearing on this matter for September 2012.
The charges stemmed from an incident which occurred earlier this month, after the parents scolded their daughter for running away from home.
The father used scotch tape to tape the daughter’s hand while he repeatedly struck her with a water hose and the mother interfered with slapping the daughter and cutting her hair short.
The couple is represented by Assistant Public Defender Donna Clement while prosecuting was Assistant Attorney General Terrie Bullinger.