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Inmate found smuggling liquor into TCF

The High Court will hear today from parties following a motion filed by Chief Probation Officer Tauiliili Silivelio Iosefo to revoke work release against former school teacher Tone Pulou, who was convicted of having sex with his female student in 2009.


The basis of the motion according to the Chief Probation Officer is that Pulou allegedly smuggled hard liquor into the Territorial Correctional Facility while on work release.


According to the motion filed by Tauili’ili, Pulou was sentenced on June 6, 2012, to Probation for a term of five years after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual intercourse with his 13 year old student in 2009.


On November 21, 2012, the court granted Pulou’s request for Work Release and he was  ordered to be released from TCF from Mondays to Fridays, from 7:00 am to 4:30 pm to work at the Kanana Fou Church Headquarters in Tafuna. Last month the Chief Probation Officer filed his motion, noting that Pulou smuggled hard liquor into the jail while on work release. When the matter was before Associate Justice Lyle L Richmond,  Pulou’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Michael White requested a continuance of his client’s matter so he can investigate the matter further and discuss the same with the Office of Probation. 


During the hearing for work release of defendant to work as custodian at the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa last year, the CCCAS General Secretary Reverend Reupena Alo in a letter to the court noted that the CCCAS would like to hire Tone Pulou as an employee of CCCAS, to work as a custodian at the main office.


Also at this hearing, Deputy Attorney General Mitzie Jessop argued that the defendant is a convicted rapist, and if he works as a custodian for the church then he will again have access to young girls. Jessop pointed out that during sentencing the victim’s mother asked that the defendant stay as far away as possible from her daughter. The motion for work release was granted by the court.


During the sentencing hearing on this matter, White had recommended that Pulou should be jailed from eight to ten years, noting that the victim is blameless in this case and the entire burden falls on his client.


White told the court he had spoken with the victim’s mother, who asked for only two things — that the defendant not have any further contact with the victim; and that the sentence, whatever it is, “should be fashioned for a lengthy period so the victim can complete her education without any interference from the defendant.”


Deputy AG Jessop had recommended that the court sentence Pulou to the maximum allowable under the law — which is 15 years — noting the victim was a 13-year old student. The defendant had been in a “position of authority” she had said, and “he abused that authority as a teacher and took advantage of the victim, who did not know better.”


During the sentencing Richmond noted that a great deal of discussion had taken place pertaining to this serious case. “The defendant had a promising future, however he made a terrible and a serious mistake,” Richmond said at the time.


The court then sentenced Pulou to ten years in jail, however execution of sentence was suspended under the condition that he serve 28 months in jail without any release, except by  court order, or for medical reasons. The defendant is also ordered to register as a sex offender. Pulou admitted in court he had an ongoing relationship with his student which led to the girl’s pregnancy, admitting that sexual intercourse with his female student was between September 2009 and February 2010.


According to the government’s case the matter came to light when the female student and her mother went to the OBGYN clinic at LBJ Medical Center only to find out she was pregnant, at which time Child Protective Services with the Department of Human and Social Services was contacted.


Pulou fled the territory to Australia last year when the government moved to file criminal charges. In October 2011, when Pulou visited relatives in Hawai’i, he was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents based on a warrant issued by the local District Court.