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Update: LHS teacher charged with eight criminal counts

reporters@samoanews.com

Leone High School teacher, Jason Laumoli has been placed on suspension with pay, following allegations that he was in a drinking session with students from the school that led to criminal charges being filed against him.
 
Laumoli made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning on eight misdemeanor charges. He’s facing five charges of adult cases, wherein it is alleged he provided the students with alcoholic beverages, and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Each of the eight criminal counts is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
 
According to the government’s case on February 2, 2013 parents of a 17-year old female  Leone High School student walked into the police station to file a complaint that Jason, 28, was providing alcohol to their daughter.
 
The female student informed police that she was in a vehicle with the teacher and two other students who are also under the age of 21 and the four of them consumed wine which was provided by the defendant.  
 
Court filings say, the female student further told the police that she and the teacher have had previous drinking sessions, one time last year during the senior graduation, and during the school’s Christmas concert at the Lee Auditorium and another time during the Christmas break last year.
 
According to the government’s case, the police spoke with the defendant who admitted that the wine was provided by him, which only he and the female student were consuming, but the other students were not drinking the wine.
 
During his initial appearance before District Court Judge John Ward, the defendant’s case was rescheduled for a status hearing on February 21, 2013. Last week, several phone calls and emails sent to Samoa News alleged that favoritism was being shown in the investigation of this case, given that the LHS teacher is the son of Deputy Commissioner Leiseau Laumoli.
 
Police Commissioner William Haleck has made assurances that the criminal investigation conducted against the Deputy Commissioner’s son was carried out fairly and favoritism did not play any role in this matter.
 
The Commissioner was responding to Samoa News queries, following calls and emails to the newspaper questioning the criminal investigation.
 
Haleck confirmed that Jason Laumoli, a teacher at Leone High school was arrested two weeks ago and was held at the Tafuna Correctional Facility for 48 hours pending charges.
 
He told Samoa News that DC Leiseau Laumoli was not involved in this investigation in any way; that he had stayed clear from this matter.
 
“The DC had no influence over this matter, the investigation was carried out moderately and properly and regardless who he is, he’s treated like any person who’s accused, because  the reality is, no one is above the law and the investigation into this matter was conducted fairly,” Haleck reiterated.
 
The police commissioner spoke to Samoa News last week before departing the territory.



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