Three men charged with rape of two 14-year-old girls
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The case where two 14-year-old females were allegedly sexually assaulted has landed three men in court. They are Apisaloma Timu, Loma Iosia and Nick Mataia.
The three defendants were arrested by police last week and made their initial appearance in District Court. They later waived their rights to a preliminary examination (PX), and their cases were bound over to the High Court last Friday.
Public Defendant Michael White represented the defendants while prosecuting the case was Assistant Attorney General Jason Mitchell.
Each defendant is charged with rape, 2 counts of 1st degree sexual abuse, both felonies, along with a class A misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of a child.
District Court Judge Fiti Sunia established bail for all three defendant’s in the amount of $100,000 each.
If they post their bonds, the court ordered that each of them remain law abiding, not leave or attempt to leave the territory, and they have to surrender their travel documents to the government’s attorney. They also are ordered not to make any direct or indirect contact with all the government’s witnesses.
It was on Oct. 8, 2018 when a woman contacted Capt. Lima Togia at the West Substation and reported a case in Vailoa involving drugs. Several police officers proceeded to the Leone Substation to meet with the woman who reported the matter.
The woman told police that she and her husband discovered a plastic baggie containing a white substance in their daughter’s pants and they suspected it to be ice (methamphetamine).
According to the woman’s statement to police, she was at the LBJ Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 tending to one of her other children. She was also accompanied by her two 14-year-old daughters, (who were both victims in this case). The two victims are identified in court affidavit as T.T and V.M.
Both daughters left LBJ around 1:30 on the same day, heading back to their residence. Sometime in the night that Saturday, she stated that she was shocked to receive a phone call from her husband saying that the girls still had not arrived home. She then made her way home and discovered that only V.M was there, but did not see T.T until Sunday afternoon, Oct. 7.
On Monday, Oct. 8, the woman told police that she noticed that T.T started to act in a strange manner, she then told her husband about changes she was witnessing in their daughter T.T.
The couple then asked T.T why she was acting strange, and T.T told her parents that she had smoked ice. The woman then started to worry and searched all of her daughter’s belonging where they found a medium sized baggie containing a white substance inside the pocket of T.T’s pants.
The baggie containing a white crystalline was tested utilizing a Marquise Field Test Kit, which yielded positive results for methamphetamine.
Police were able to interview T.T at the Leone Substation in the presence of her parents. When asked where she got the ice, T.T explained that she was with her sister V.M on Sunday night, Oct. 7, and was given the baggie of ice after having sex with an individual named “LEMU” (herein after LEMU#1). She also told police that she had sex with a person named “NICK” and also smoke ice with him.
NICK was later identified as Nick Mataia, one of the defendants in this case. LEMU#1 was later identified as Apisaloma Timu.
T.T told police that on the night of Oct. 6 while she and her sister V.M were in front of the Janice Sewing Shop, Timu and Mataia pulled up in a dark colored, four-door, rental car and asked them if they needed a ride and they accepted.
As the vehicle was going down the road heading towards Taputimu, Timu suggested that he and V.M be dropped off at a residence and while Mataia drove around and hung out. A few hours later, both victims were inside in the same residence where Timu and V.M were first dropped off.
T.T told police that inside the house were several male individuals who were smoking ice using a glass pipe. One of the males was later identified as LOMA, who is defendant Loma Iosia.
(Samoa News should point out that according to the affidavit, one of the victims identified LOMA with the name LEMU — which is why there is a LEMU#2 denoted in the document. )
While inside the residence, both victims said they were allegedly sexually assaulted by each defendant. They were also given ice to smoke before and after they were sexually assaulted.
T.T told police that both Timu and Mataia sexually assaulted her and she smoked ice together with Timu and Mataia. On Sunday morning, Oct. 7, Iosia dropped her off at her village and Iosia gave her a plastic baggie containing ice and a glass pipe used to smoke ice.
V.M — identified in the court affidavit as victim#2 — told police that after she was dropped off with Timu at a residence in Taputimu, her sister T.T and Mataia continued on with their ride, she then asked Timu where they were going and Timu told her that they were walking to his house. When they reached Timu’s house, they then went inside Timu’s room.
V.M told police that Timu gave baggies with white crystalline inside to another man. She also saw marijuana cigarettes inside Timu’s room. She also witnessed Timu putting baggies of ice inside a speaker.
A few moments later, Timu asked her “are you ready to take the risk”. Timu then came up to where she was and tried to rape her. She pushed him but unfortunately, he was very strong. According to V.M, she was unable to stop Timu from what he did — raping her inside his room.
After she was allegedly raped by Timu, V.M walked to the door, but Timu stopped her and asked her if she was leaving and V.M told him, yes. Timu then gave her $50 and told her, if she tells anyone what happened to them, they will come and find her. V.M turned her back and walked out the house and towards the main road to go home. V.M got home before 10:30p.m on the night of Oct. 6.
After interviewing the two victims, police were able to locate the residence where both victims were allegedly sexually assaulted and were given illegal drugs. According to the court affidavit, the residence was later identified as the residence belonging to the Saofagaigaali’i family in Taputimu.
On Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, a search warrant was executed at the Saofaiga’ali’i family guest house in Taputimu, and police were able to speak to two male individuals, who were not the defendants in this case.
According to one of the male individuals that was at the house during the police search, it was Timu who brought the young girls to their family guest house on Sunday night, Oct. 6.
Police later discovered two other male individuals at the house during the search. They were Iosia and Timu. Mataia was also later discovered by police at the same residence. All three men were arrested and escorted to the Leone Police Substation for further investigation.
Timu told police that it was he and Mataia who picked up the two girls who were walking on the road and brought them to the house. At the house, they smoked ice together with V.M and Iosia. He also admitted to police that he sexually assaulted V.M.
Mataia also told police that he smoked ice with T.T and also sexually assaulted her. He further told police that he knew that T.T was 14 years old, but the sexual assault was consensual.
When asked by police, Loma stated that on Oct. 6, Timu brought a young girl to the house. He then gave Timu a plastic baggie containing ice. Loma admitted to police that he sexually assaulted the young girl Timu brought.