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Juvenile Detention Center focus of numerous sex abuse charges

joy@samoanews.com

The Attorney General’s office has charged a 17-year-old juvenile as an adult on allegations that he and two other juveniles performed sexual acts on a 14-year-old juvenile, inside the Juvenile Detention Center.
 
Liki Tao is charged with sodomy, deviate sexual assault, sexual abuse first degree and third degree assault.
 
The sodomy charge is a class B felony which is punishable from five to 15 years in jail, while the deviate sexual assault charge is a class C felony that carries a jail term of up to seven years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
 
The first degree sexual abuse charge is a class D felony which carries a jail term of up to five years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both while the third degree charge is a misdemeanor that’s punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
 
Tao has a separate case pending in Family court, where he’s charged with two counts of sodomy and two counts of sexual abuse first degree.
 
In this latest case filed against him, court filings say that he, along with “A.T” and “S.S” are accused of having sex with another male juvenile. 
 
According to the government’s case, the matter came to light when the victim informed the Juvenile Detention Center staff that he had been sexually assaulted. The incident was reported to the Criminal Investigation Division under Commander Lavatai Ta’ase Sagapolutele who assigned the case to Detective Alisha Godinet.
 
It’s alleged the 14-year-old victim told the police that sometime between April and May,  A.T had persuaded the victim to have sex with him and the victim tried to stop A.T by moving away and telling him that it was painful but A.T refused to listen, say court filings.
 
According to court filings, the victim said that the second incident also occurred in April or May where he was placed in the same cell with Tao and S.S. It’s alleged S.S asked the 14-year-old victim to have sex with him, however he refused, but he (the victim) was persuaded with a promise that he would get new clothing in return. It’s alleged the victim was then forced to have sex for the second time the same night, however the victim refused, yet S.S did not stop and the defendant then joined in with S.S to have sex with the victim.
 
The case further claims that later that same night, defendant then had sex with the victim, despite the victim’s complaints about the pain.
 
A.T during interrogation admitted to police that he had sex with the male juvenile and despite the victim’s complaints he did not stop. Court filings say that police also spoke to S.S, who also admitted that while sharing a cell at the juvenile detention center with Tao and the victim, he (S.S) was persuaded by Tao to ask the victim to have sex with him (S.S) and he offered the victim clothes in return for sex.
 
S.S told police the victim did complain that the sex was painful, however “he (S.S) was too excited to stop,” according to the government’s case. Tao told police that he observed S.S and the victim having sex and he was too “aroused” so he also joined in to have sex with the victim.
 
Efforts to obtain comments from the government regarding the other juveniles involved in the case, in order to find out if they have been charged, were unsuccessful.



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