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Court Report


A repeat offender accused of escaping from police confinement while serving a long term jail sentence has entered into a plea agreement with the government. Lorenzo Vaimagalo who’s serving a 12-year sentence for two previous cases for which he was convicted, pleaded guilty to escaping from confinement, the charge leveled against him.

The escape count is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The defendant said in court that he had been mowing the lawn before heading back into their unit at the Tafuna Correctional Facility, allowing him to escape.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond accepted the plea agreement and scheduled sentencing for the defendant on February 26, 2013. According to the government’s case, on July 26, 2010 then Warden Moliga reported that inmate Vaimagalo had escaped from the Tafuna Correctional Facility.

Former inmate Romeo Peretania told police that on the day in question he received a call from Vaimagalo asking him for money and said he was on his way to Peretania’s work place. It’s alleged that after the phone call, Peretania then contacted the TCF informing the correction officers that Vaimagalo has escaped from jail.

A witness told police that he and other family members saw Vaimagalo and asked him what he was doing outside of jail.

The government claims the defendant told the witness that he escaped from the TCF to kill Chief Justice Michael Kruse for always adding years to his sentence. Court filings state that Vaimagalo said he was going to get a gun from a friend in Faleniu. It's alleged that one witness contacted the Correction Officers with information on the time and place where Vaimagalo could be found, thus allowing the police to apprehend the defendant. 


Lemisio John Taetuli, one of two men facing charges of rape involving the same victim, was set to be sentenced Thursday morning. However his attorney Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin, requested a 30 day continuance, to allow the defendant to undergo mental evaluation.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond granted the request and postponed sentencing until the evaluation is complete. Taetuli is charged together with the victim’s uncle, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

Taetuli entered a guilty plea while the government’s case against the uncle is still in negotiation. Taetuli was initially charged with rape, sodomy of a child, deviate sexual assault of a child, first degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. In a plea agreement with the government Taetuli pleaded guilty to rape while the remaining charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

According to the government’s case, the incidents came to light when the victim ran away from home and a report was filed with police.  It's alleged the victim, now 14 years old, told the police that sexual incidents started between her and Lemisio Taetuli when she was 12 years old.

Court documents state that Taetuli admitted to police that he had oral sex and sexual intercourse with the victim when she was 12 years of age and gave the victim money afterward. The defendant is represented by Assistant Public Defender Leslie Cardin while prosecuting are Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop and Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.


A Filipino man charged in connection with a sexually related case that was set to go to trial has now taken the government’s plea offer. Initially Victor Liwan Tacloloy was set to go to trial however during his status hearing the government and defense informed the court that this case will be resolved in a plea agreement.  

Tacloloy is charged with first degree sexual abuse, resisting arrest, third degree assault and private peace disturbance.

The sexual abuse charge and resisting arrest are class D felonies which are punishable by up to five years in jail, a fine of up to $5,000 or both, while the third degree assault is a class A misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000 or both. Private peace disturbance charge is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 15 days in jail, a fine of up to $300 or both.

Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond who was accompanied on the bench by Associate Judge Mamea Sala Jr has set the plea hearing for next month. Details of the plea agreement have yet to be revealed.

According to the government’s case the defendant engaged in a drinking session with an underaged girl on October 2011, and it’s alleged that after the party the defendant touched the minor inappropriately. Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop is prosecuting this matter while the defendant is represented by Public Defender Ruth Risch Fuatagavi.