ASG REFILES CRIMINAL CHARGES IN SEX CASE
The Attorney General’s office has re-filed their criminal case against four men accused of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl, who was a student in elementary school at the time of the incident. Last week the government moved to dismiss the previous case informing the court that “appropriate charges” would be filed at a later date, and Chief Justice Michael Kruse granted the dismissal motion.
In the previous case, the government charged Tavita Mariota, Anthony Sioka, Lewis Lokeni and Peni Levi with rape, sexual abuse first degree and endangering the welfare of a child.
However, the new charges filed in this case are sexual assault, a class D felony punishable by up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000 or both and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor that carries a jail term of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
Yesterday, the four men were arraigned in the High Court before Kruse where they all denied the charges against them. The defendants are represented by Assistant Public Defender Mike White and Public Defender Douglas Fiaui, while prosecuting for the government is Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe.
According to the government’s case, the incident came to light when a truancy officer at Lupelele Elementary School, contacted the police about a possible sexual case after observing “love bite marks” on a 14-year- old girl’s neck.
During police investigation, the victim informed the police that she had engaged in sexual intercourse with 27-year-old Mariota in March 2012. The government claims Mariota had sex with the girl on several occasions. Police spoke to Mariota who admitted to having sexual intercourse with Jane Doe at his home in Fagaima around Flag Day 2012, but only once. He also told the police that she had slept at his house three times.
The second defendant, Lokeni 25, is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with the same 14-year-old girl on April 28, 2012 at his house in the village of Fagaima, and left “love bite marks” on the girl’s neck. Jane Doe told police that the first time she and Lokeni engaged in sexual intercourse was behind Mose’s store (formerly known as Hillside Variety) in Fagaima, and the second time in a deserted building, also in Fagaima.
Jane Doe further told police that she also had sex with Lokeni on April 17, 2012. Court filings state that Jane Doe’s father told police that Jane Doe swallowed Clorox bleach on April 30, 2012, in an attempt to hurt herself.
Jane Doe explained to police that she attempted to kill herself after a teacher discovered the love bite marks on her neck on April 30, 2012 and questioned her about them. Police met with Lokeni at his home to investigate the allegations by Jane Doe. Lokeni told police that Jane Doe came on to him, and that he did have sexual intercourse with Jane Doe behind Mose’s store in Fagaima around April 20, 2012.
Third defendant, Levi 21, allegedly had sex with the girl when she was 13-years-old for the first time on August 12, 2011. Jane Doe explained that she was approached by Levi who wanted to date her and on that same day she and Levi had sex. Later, she went to live at her mother's residence in another village.
Jane Doe told police she returned to her father’s home in Tafuna in October 2011 where she had sex with Levi twice. Levi was interviewed by police on May 2, 2012, where he denied being the first one to have sex with Jane Doe. Levi told police that Jane Doe told him she had sexual intercourse with another man before him. Levi admitted he had sexual intercourse with Jane Doe, but only once, during the month of October 2011 in a deserted building in Tafuna.
The last defendant in this case is Sioka, 20 who allegedly had sex with the girl in October 2011. She told police that she and Sioka went to an abandoned house where they had sex, and in that month alone, had sex four times. Sioka during an interview with police admitted to engaging in sexual intercourse with Jane Doe and he said the sex was consensual.
Sioka told police that when he met Jane Doe, he could not believe how young she looked, but that he thought he might have a chance with her. He admitted to having sex with Jane Doe three or four times between August and October 2011.
Pre-trial conference for the four boys has been schedule on May 23, 2013.
WAYNE PELEIUPU ENTERS GUILTY PLEA TO AIDING AND ABETTING
A man has entered into a plea agreement for assisting his friend, who walked into a store, pressed the cash register open and took off with over $1,000.
Wayne Peleiupu is charged with burglary and felony stealing, however in a plea agreement with the government the defendant pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting, amended from the burglary charge while the remaining count was dismissed.
The co-defendant in this case, Ieremia Cameron, is also facing burglary and felony stealing and his case is pending in High Court. During the plea agreement the defendant admitted that he aided and abetted the defendant, helping him steal money from the cash register.
Chief Justice Michael Kruse accepted the plea agreement in this case and scheduled sentencing for June 7, 2013.
According to the government’s case, police received a call from a Chinese woman asking for assistance, saying that the defendant took off with money from her store. Police responded to the call and were provided with video footage of the alleged incident.