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Father facing charges for allegedly assaulting, endangering one year old daughter

reporters@samoanews.com

A $50,000 bail has been set for a father who’s facing criminal charges on allegations that he strangled, shook and abandoned his one year old daughter on several occasions.

Tala Maluseu who was arrested by detectives with the (CID) Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Public Safety on Monday, made his initial appearance in the District Court yesterday morning.

The defendant is charged with first degree assault, a class B felony punishable by imprisonment for five to fifteen years, and a fine not less than $150 and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child which are class A misdemeanors, punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of $1,000, but not less than $150, or both.

According to the government’s case, CID Detective Poutoa I’amanu responded to a call from Child Protective Services (CPS) regarding possible child abandonment.

It's alleged that when police and CPS workers were let in to the house where the child was left unattended, police observed an infant 23- month old, alone on the floor, with a plastic bag around her neck, and another in her hand.

The landlord who contacted CPS workers, told police the baby was left from around 10 a.m. and her parents Imeleta and Tala Maluseu would come back to the house shortly to check in on her.

The landlord said the parents then would leave the house again leaving the baby unattended and this prompted him to contact Social Services for help, because the baby had been home alone awhile and was crying loudly, causing great concern to the landlord.

According to the government’s case, the landlord told police the baby was left home without adult supervision on several occasions, and that both the victim’s parents regularly physically disciplined the baby by slapping her.

Court filings state the victim’s parents came in to the police station on their own voluntarily the following day, April 24, 2012.

The defendant admitted to police that he and his wife left their baby daughter unattended on April 23, 2012 from 9 a.m. and they went to the store with their 4-year old daughter, and returned home shortly.

It’s alleged that same day they left again around 11 a.m. to go pick up their tax return checks, and returned home around 3 p.m. to find that CPS had taken the victim (their child) away.

The defendant and his wife admitted to police that it was not the first time they had left the victim home alone and without adult supervision.

Mrs. Maluseu told police that during Flag Day Week, in mid-April 2012, the defendant returned home from work late, and was disappointed to find that the victim was still awake.

Mrs. Maluseu added that her husband tried to get the victim to go to sleep but that the child kept crying. He became angry and held the child up by the neck and started shaking the child hard, say court filings.

Court filings state that Mrs. Maluseu screamed for her husband to stop but the defendant continued to choke the child by the neck.

She said she then ran out to find the neighbors next door for help and upon returning, the child was unconscious and her skin had started to turn blue.

Mrs. Maluseu told police her neighbor helped revive the victim. She added that they never took the child to the hospital following this incident because the child seemed to be breathing normally again after their neighbor revived her.

The neighbor told police that Mrs. Maluseu came to her door yelling and pleading for help in reviving her one year old daughter.

The neighbor went on to say that they ran to the defendant’s house to find the victim unconscious and bluish in color in the defendant’s arms. The neighbor said she grabbed the victim and helped revive her.

The defendant will have his preliminary examination in the District Court later this week. Mr. Maluseu is represented by Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley while prosecuting is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.



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