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Court Report



A man who admitted to raping his 15-year-old niece was sentenced to 20 months in jail, as part of his 15-year probation term.


Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim in this case.


 The government initially charged the defendant with rape, sexual abuse in the first degree and endangering the welfare of a child; however, in a plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to rape and the remaining charges were dismissed.


During sentencing, the defendant apologized to the government, his family, and the victim in this case.


The defendant was sentenced to 15 years in jail; however, execution of the sentence is suspended and the uncle is placed on probation for a term of 15 years under the condition that he serves 20 months in jail and remain a law-abiding citizen while on probation.


Furthermore, the defendant is not to be released for any reason except for genuine medical emergencies or a court order. Following the completion of his prison term and upon release from custody, the defendant is ordered to depart the territory, and remain outside for the remainder of the probation term.


The uncle was also ordered to register as a sex offender with the Sex Offender Registry and to undergo HIV Testing, which is mandated for registered sex offenders.


According to court records, the 15-year-old victim went missing for nearly a week and was found in a deserted building in Pava’ia’i.


She initially told police she ran away from home because her brother always beats her and her 32-year-old uncle always touches her when he gets drunk.




A man who is being charged with second-degree assault will have his day in court during a jury trial scheduled for September 2014. The defendant, Ueti Schwenke, is currently out on bail.


According to court records, the case is a result of a land dispute that occurred over Fanene communal land in Nu’uuli earlier this year in February. The government alleges that the dispute resulted in a fight between two families and several people were injured.


Police investigation uncovered that the dispute started over a load of dirt delivered to the land.




Assistant Attorney General Camille Philippe has informed the court the government is looking at filing additional charges in the case of Fualaau Tuua who is being charged with forgery and stealing, based on allegations that she stole a check, and then forged and cashed it.


The prosecutor told the court the defendant is being accused of similar conduct and the government needs more time to file additional charges.


Chief Justice Michael Kruse has re-scheduled the pre-trial conference for this matter in two weeks.  Meanwhile, Tuua remains behind bars at the Tafuna Correctional Facility with bail set at $20,000.


According to the government’s case, on November 2, 2012 the head of security at the American Samoa Community College contacted DPS alleging the defendant stole a check from the business office and cashed it at a store in Nu’uuli.


Court filings note that the owner of the store went to the ASCC Business Office with a copy of the expired check cashed at his store and arrangements were made for a new check to be issued; however, during the process of issuing the new check, it was revealed the check was never picked up by the payee — the person the check was made out to.


The owner of the check along with an employee of the ASCC Business Office went to the store to see footage of the person who cashed the check.


The defendant was a college student working in the Business Office at the time. 


According to the storeowner, the defendant paid $500 after she learned that the Business Office had found out about what she had done. Court filings do not state the exact amount of the check in question.