Victim in sex case charged with witness tampering
The Attorney General’s Office has charged one of the three victims involved in a high profile sex case filed against Hanipale Malae in May this year. Fa’aso’oso’o Sosaiete has been charged with tampering with a witness and destroying evidence and co-defendants in this case are Hanipale and his wife Asenati Malae, who are facing tampering with a witness and concealing an offense.
The first case against Hanipale charges him with two counts of rape, two counts of sodomy, two counts of deviate sexual assault, two counts of sexual abuse first degree, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, third degree assault and furnishing pornographic material to minors, on allegations that Hanipale allegedly assaulted three girls physically and sexually.
The three girls from Savai’i all lived with Hanipale and his wife in Manu’a and the incident came to light when one of the girls, ran away from the defendant’s residence after she was allegedly assaulted. She was picked up by Manu’a police officers the next day and was taken to the hospital for treatment. While at the hospital, “FS” informed police she had also been sexually abused by the defendant along with two other females who also lived with him.
Hanipale is represented by Sharron Rancourt in this case while his co-defendants are represented by the Assistant Public Defender Matthew Trick. Prosecuting for the government is Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop.
(Samoa News should point out in the first case filed against Hanipale, the three victims are identified only by initials and ages: FS (27 years old), FP (15 years old) and SS (20 years old) in court fillings. In the case filed on Tuesday, Fa’aso’oso’o Sosaiete is identified as one of the three victims in the Hanipale case, and that she is 27 years old.)
According to the government’s case, on July 9, 2013 the investigator, Detective Alisha Godinet was contacted by a shelter case worker that a witness or the victim in the case against Hanipale wished to change her statement to police.
The investigator then met with Sosaiete, who was under the government’s protection, where she told police she wished to change her statement “specifically regarding a sexual act between herself” and Hanipale and the other victim, who’s 15 years old.
Court filings say the Social Services Case Worker told the investigator that further information concerning Sosaiete’s change of statement could be obtained from a woman in Mesepa where Sosaiete’s mother was staying.
Upon contacting the woman iin Mesepa, the police were told that Sosaiete’s mother was dropped off at her house by Asenati when the mother arrived in the territory on June from Savai’i.
The woman in Mesepa further told police that on one occasion, Asenati came by her home and dropped off, a case of chicken, a case of turkey tail and a case of sausages.
Court filings say, “It was later confirmed by Sosaiete this was a directive from (Hanipale) Malae.”
Police also uncovered from “subsequent interviews” that Asenati allegedly took money to Sosaiete’s mother. The Mesepa woman also told police that Sosaiete and her mother would “frequently” speak with Hanipale “over a phone in Sosaiete’s possession. The Mesepa woman said she “considered this rather odd considering she was aware” Hanipale was incarcerated at the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF), according to the court filings.
Documents say that on July 10, 2013, Detective Godinet told her superior officer it was possibile Hanipale had a cell phone in his possession inside the TCF; and the police Commissioner was notified, who then ordered that TCF officers search Hanipale’s cell.
A search was conducted and a cell phone was uncovered. “Hanipale admitted, under a single query as to how he came to possess the recovered cell phone, that Asenati his wife had given him the cell phone two weeks prior,” say court filings.
The government claims Asenati admitted verbally and in a statement that she “smuggled” the cell phone into the TCF for her husband.
Court filings say Sosaiete informed police that “she deleted all of the call log and text logs from the cell phone she used to communicate with Hanipale.”
Documents say that Police conducted another interview with Sosaiete regarding the cell phone, where she allegedly admitted she had spoken to Hanipale via cell phone while he was incarcerated.
According to the government’s case, Sosaiete’s mother was interviewed by police and she stated Asenati had paid her airfare to come to American Samoa and it was Asenati who picked her up from the airport. She said she spent her first night at Asenati’s house.
Court filings further state that Sosaiete made contact with the other victim, “F.P.” in this case “and pressured her to change her statement” given to police. This victim told police that Sosaiete gave her a “handwritten note dictating” what she should state to police, and court filings say this note has been admitted as evidence into this case.
Court filings say in a third interview with Sosaiete, she allegedly admitted to police that she wrote the note and also “admitted that the instruction regarding the note were directives from Hanipale.”
The government further states that Sosaiete allegedly conspired with Hanipale to “pressure yet another witness” (third victim) to “recant on her statements” given to police.
On separate occasions, victims, FP and SS say they spoke to Hanipale via a cell phone that was handed to them by Sosaiete, according to court documents.
The documents note that Hanipale was ordered by the District Court to have no direct or indirect contact with the complaining witnesses, i.e. victims, when he first appeared in court on May 23, 2013.
Asenati, according to court filings, has admitted she “prepared a box of food items” for Sosaiete’s mother “for her return trip to Savai’i as well as a gift in the amount of $500.”
Asenati and Sosaiete both waived their rights to a preliminary examination hearing before District Court Judge John Ward, while Hanipale will proceed with his hearing next Thursday.
The preliminary hearing is for the court to decide if the government has enough evidence to have a case proceed to the High Court.
Asenati is out on bail of $5,000 while Sosaiete remains in jail of the same bail, and both are to be arraigned in High Court this morning.
THE NEW COMMENTS PROCESS
To make comments, you will need to register. You can register under your real name or use a 'screen' name. This way, people will be able to follow comments and make comments back and forth to each other. If you choose to use a 'screen name' no one will know your true identity. In either case, no email addresses will be available to anyone. It is an automated process. If you have questions, email: email@example.com
You currently are not logged in, please LOGIN to post comments.