Sex charges dismissed for Lady Naomi crew member
A crew member with the Samoa Government owned vessel, the MV Lady Naomi, who was accused of sexual crimes against a young girl on a trip enroute to American Samoa, will be prosecuted in the Supreme Court of Samoa.
This follows a dismissal motion filed by Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop and accepted by Chief Justice Michael Kruse.
Feagaiga Si’ilata was facing charges of rape, deviate sexual assault, first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the dismissal motion, Jessop noted that there were allegations that the defendant had sexual intercourse and sexual contact with a 15-year-old minor, while the Lady Naomi was enroute from Apia, Samoa to Pago Pago on December 27, 2012.
“As investigation progressed it became evident to the government after communication with the United States Coast Guard, that the crime occurred in Samoa waters, rather than in American Samoa territorial waters”.
Jessop further stated in her motion that according to local statute. criminal cases shall be prosecuted and tried only in a court having territorial jurisdiction over the place where the crime was committed.
“With jurisdiction being an issue, contact was made with the Samoa Attorney General’s office as to the prosecution of this case. As a result of this contact, Samoa has issued an arrest warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Arrangements have been made for Samoa to take custody of the defendant, upon the dismissal of American Samoa charges” says Jessop in her motion.
During the hearing a Detective from the Samoa Police Station was present and will be escorting the defendant to Samoa today, where he will answer to the charges.
Samoa News obtained a copy of the Arrest Warrant issued by the Attorney General’s office in Samoa, however it does not indicate which criminal charges have been filed in this case.
The arrest warrant was issued on Mar. 8, 2013 and was signed by Samoa’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu.
The defendant was first arrested on Dec. 27, 2012 after a woman contacted the Central Police Station claiming that her 15-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted by a crew member. Court filings state that the woman and her daughter were passengers on the Lady Naomi.
The government claims the woman contacted the police when she saw the lights of Tutuila. The victim, her daughter, told the police she started to feel sick so she went up to the deck, where the defendant approached her, and as they were talking they went to a room at the bottom of the Lady Naomi.
Court filings say the defendant then had sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old girl. It’s alleged that this occurred twice, according to the government. The defendant upon questioning by police admitted that he had sex with the girl twice, and he alleged that this is not the first time he has had sex on the vessel with young girls.