Sterling Fuga is being held on bail of $300 on charges of third degree assault (offensive touching) and public peace disturbance on allegations he touched a female court clerk who was riding the bus into work Tuesday morning.
The charges against the defendant are misdemeanors.
According to the government’s case, the victim was heading into court when a man with tattoos on his face got on the same bus. The victim told police the defendant’s upper body was on her right arm for which she felt trapped and scared. It’s alleged that Fuga at one time put his hands between his legs so she managed to move closer to the window, however the defendant moved closer to her. It’s alleged that Fuga grabbed the victim’s hand and tried to kiss it but the victim yanked her hand away from him.
Court filings say the defendant asked the victim if she wanted to go lunch with him, but she told him no. Then the defendant offered the victim $100, and she still refused. It’s alleged the defendant then offered her $1,000, and again she refused.
According to the government’s case, the victim told police she was afraid during the whole time the defendant was talking to her, and it made her very uncomfortable.
Court filings state the victim told police the defendant started talking nasty to her asking her about various sexual acts. The victim ignored the defendant, but the defendant asked the victim if she liked having sex. The victim told police she felt disgusted and scared and she wanted to get off the bus but she didn’t, in case the defendant followed her.
Court filings state the defendant leaned towards the victim and hovered over the victim and grabbed her thighs with his hands. The victim yelled “stop it”, and some passengers on the bus looked towards them but did not say anything to Fuga. It’s alleged Fuga continued hovering over the victim and told her she had a nice chest.
Court filings state the victim looked around the bus and noticed someone she knew, then she moved and sat with that person.
The man whom the victim sat with told the police that the bus was crowded and he didn’t notice anything going on until the bus stopped somewhere in Faleniu and that’s where he saw the victim, who seemed scared and looked as if she was about to cry.
Court filings state when the defendant arrived at the Criminal Investigation Division he asked Detective Vili Fa’apouli for food, and asked him if there are any girls in the CID office.
The defendant told Detective Fa’apouli he found a Chinese girlfriend on the bus, she didn’t like it when he kissed her hand and pulled away, so he touched her thigh lightly.
The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court yesterday.
The government and defense are continuing plea negotiations in the case of an Utulei man who allegedly attempted to blow up the Morris Scanlan Gas Station in Utulei. Malae Folasa is facing first degree attempted arson in addition to a public peace disturbance count.
During his appearance in High Court for pre-trial conference, his attorney Leslie Cardin asked for a brief continuance, given that there are on going plea negotiations in this matter. Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the request and scheduled another pre-trial conference date for Folasa later this month. Folasa, in his 30’s remains in jail with bail set at $20,000.
According to the government’s case, police were called to the gas station for assistance on Sept. 27, 2012, regarding some drunken men who were causing a disturbance. It's alleged the men claimed they were upset that the gas station was not respecting the village curfew.
The government claims one of the men was the defendant, who was reportedly trying to blow up the gas station.
The gas station provided police with a surveillance video from the gas station where the defendant was seen repeatedly grabbing fuel pumps, and holding up a lighter with an open flame just a few inches from the fuel pump.
Acting Chief Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde, who’s prosecuting the case, told Samoa News that the facts of this case are quite unusual and bizarre.
“It's fortunate that there was no explosion and that there were no injuries.” she told Samoa News. “The repercussions of the defendant's actions could have been much more serious” she said.
Samoa News notes that the gas station is located right next to the government tank farm, which stores all fuel that comes into the territory.