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Court Report

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COURT BRIEFS

by Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu

Samoa News Reporter

UNCLE ARRESTED ON RAPE CHARGES OF HIS 13-YEAR- OLD NIECE

The pregnancy of a 13-year-old female from Fagaalu last year has resulted in an arrest, with charges filed against her father’s brother. Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.

The victim has since given birth. The 20-year-old defendant is facing charges of rape, deviate sexual assault, incest, sexual abuse first degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Rape, incest and sexual abuse charges are class D felonies punishable from 5 to 15 years in jail; deviate sexual assault is a class C felony which carries a jail term of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both; and child endangerment is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

The incident was reported to the police by the victim’s mother on Jan. 28, 2013. According to the government’s case, the defendant and the victim were both called in to the police station for questioning.

The police asked the victim who fathered the baby. She initially said it was a Manu’a man. However, when police asked her again, the victim started crying and said that around September or October 2011 the defendant started touching her inappropriately, and that’s when they started having sexual intercourse. The girl told police that she lost her virginity to her uncle.

According to court filings, the girl claims they had sex 15 to 20 times between September 2011 and February 2012, and it was then she found out she was pregnant. She further told police that her uncle did not have sex with her after that, until she gave birth in August, 2012.

Police spoke to the uncle, but he refused to make a statement, until he was booked, then he informed the police that he wished to make a statement, according to court filings. The uncle told the police that around September 2011 he started touching the victim inappropriately and started developing intimate feelings for his niece.

Court filings say the defendant informed the investigating officer that in September 2011 he went into the victim’s room where she was sleeping and forced her to have sexual intercourse with him.

The defendant said he had sexual intercourse with his niece on several occasions between September 2011 and February 2012.

He further said that when his niece was pregnant he started ignoring her and avoiding her, but had sexual intercourse with her again in August, for the last time, after she gave birth.

The defendant who’s held on bail of $50,000 was arraigned in the High Court yesterday morning where he denied the charges against him. Acting Public Defender Douglas Fiaui is representing the defendant in this case while prosecuting is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.

TWO MEN CHARGED IN ASSAULT CASE

Sealiitu Mauga and Bogdaw Tuiletufuga are facing felony charges following an incident that occurred in Fatu ma Futi on Jan. 20 this year. Mauga, who’s held on bail of $5,000 is charged with second degree assault and property damage while Tuiletufuga is facing two counts of second degree assault. His bail is also set at $5,000.

Both defendants are represented by the Public Defender’s office while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde. According to the government’s case a woman, in an attempt to stop a fight between Tuiletufuga and another man during a drinking session, was hit on the head with a flashlight allegedly thrown by Tuiletufuga.

The woman is the sister of Mauga. The government claims the woman suffered bruises, swelling and substantial pain, as well as a cut on her head that required eight stitches.

Court filings say, Mauga then struck Tuiletufuga on the head with a beer bottle and punched him on the face and body with his fists. Tuiletufuga sustained two lacerations on his head, a fractured finger, bruises and substantial pain. It's alleged Mauga also struck Tuiletufuga’s vehicle with a shovel, leaving damages that were estimated at $3,856.

The pair will be in High Court today for their arraignment. Last week they both waived their rights to a preliminary examination before District Court Judge John Ward.

MAN CHARGED FOLLOWING ALLEGED DOMESTIC DISPUTE

The government has charged a man following a family dispute with two counts of public peace disturbance, two counts of third degree assault for domestic violence and two counts of third degree assault.

The defendant, whose named has been held to protect the identity of the victim, is held on bail of $1,000. He’s represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while Assistant Attorney General Lornalei Meredith is prosecuting this case.

According to the government’s case, on Christmas day last year police responded to a call in the village of Petesa regarding a family dispute.

Court filings say the first incident occurred on Dec. 24, 2012 where the defendant got into a verbal argument with his wife and slapped her three times in the presence of their children. It's alleged the children were crying because their parents were fighting, and the sister-in-law attempted to take the defendant’s daughter away, but the defendant grabbed his sister-in-law by the hand and twisted her arm.

It's alleged the following day, which was Christmas Day, the defendant was in the middle of the road in an attempt to block the road while his father-in-law and sister-in-law were in the car. Court filings say the defendant was yelling at his father-in-law regarding the whereabouts of his wife and children.

It’s alleged the defendant slammed his father-in-law up against the vehicle and when his sister-in-law got out of the car to help her father, the defendant allegedly pulled her hair, then he took off on foot. At the same time the defendant was threatening to kill his wife’s family if they didn't tell him where his wife and kids are.

CASE OF FILIPINO MAN BOUND OVER TO HIGH COURT

District Court Judge John Ward found that there was probable cause for the government’s case against a Filipino man facing sexually related charges involving a four-year-old girl. The 46-year-old defendant is charged with child molestation and endangering the welfare of a child. He is accused of inappropriately touching the child.

Samoa News is withholding the defendant’s name to protect the identity of the victim in this case. The child molestation count is a class A felony punishable by imprisonment for life, or from ten to thirty years in jail with a mandatory minimum prison term of ten years without probation or parole.

The endangering charge is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. The defendant exercised his rights to a preliminary examination hearing last Friday. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while Assistant Attorney General Kimberly Hyde is prosecuting.

According to the government’s case, on Jan. 20, 2013 the LBJ hospital Social Services reported the sexual abuse of a four-year-old girl to the Police Station in Tafuna.

Court filings say the victim calls the defendant her uncle. The victim and her parents live together with other people in a seven-bedroom house that is rented by different families and the defendant is among the tenants.

The victim was taken to the LBJ hospital for an examination. When interviewed by police the child told them that the defendant touched her and pointed to her private parts.



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