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“SEX ABUSE VICTIMS RE-VICTIMIZED BY THE SYSTEM”

Dear Editor,

A teacher who was charged with sexual abuse has been hired into the Governor’s office.

I sat in court the day Mr. Thompson was to be sentenced. The victim/survivor’s mother was able to convey her distress as she bore her testimony for her daughter. It was a scene where the mother was forced to reign in her true emotions so that the court would allow her to finish. It was a family torn in half by this man’s behavior.

Even though Mr. Thompson committed this sexual offense in his home, he was also a teacher for Special Education. DOE at the time had a history of laterally transferring sex offenders to other departments rather than placing them outside the school compound. This is a situation I hope the new Director will rectify to safeguard our children, especially our Special Ed children who have no line of defense other then their teachers or school staff.

I’m very concerned that our Governor ‘s office is hiring without the benefit of performing background checks. Mr. Thompson was charged with first degree sexual abuse, amended to third degree assault. It does not take away that he was charged for SEXUAL ABUSE and convicted.

The message on child sexual abuse to the community is truly being warped and twisted. A felon who raped a child is employed by the CCCAS church in the middle of Kanana Fou compound, that contains an elementary school and high school. This is a situation allowed by the court.

Now, a man who was charged for sexual abuse (pled down to assault and convicted) has been hired into the Governor’s office.

I hope this will be taken into consideration — how a survivor and their family member would feel when they walk into the Governor’s office, or any office for assistance only to be confronted by the offender. Again, the offender is in a position of power and control over the survivor.

Sex offenses are the third leading criminal activities in the territory according to Cdr. of CID Mr. Lavatai Taase Sagapolutele. That is only for 2012.

We’re on a roll for the year 2013 by the hiring of Mr. Thompson. Of all places — into the Governor’s Office.

I appeal to the community to be proactive in protecting our children against these types of heinous crimes or criminals, who are allowed out on work release, allowed out on bail or probation. Please support the Child Abuse Bill that is being reintroduced back into the Fono for the FOURTH time.

Keep an eye out for any sex offender — particularly those amended or bargained down to a simple ASSAULT, who are trying to slide back into positions of power and control over victims . Stay alert and aware of your environment.

Hiring this sex offender into the Governor’s office among other things is not only an insult to the victim and family but also an ‘in your face’ to the concerned public.

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

Advocate on behalf of victims of sexual and domestic violence



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