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Man charged with sexually abusing 13-year-old

A 36-year-old man is accused of offering $50 cash to a 13-year-old girl for a kiss. This was the testimony heard by District Court Judge Elvis Patea from police officer Salefasa Matatule during the preliminary examination for Leo Petelo, who was charged in connection with this matter.


Petelo made his initial appearance in District Court earlier this week and had his PX hearing yesterday. He’s facing charges of sexual abuse first degree, sodomy, deviate sexual assault, third degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and public peace disturbance, with his bail set at $20,000.


According to the government’s case on June 21, 2014 police received a call from the victim’s uncle, informing the police that the defendant, who lives around their neighborhood, had forced a kiss on a 13-year-old girl.


Officer Matatule responded to the matter and met with the victim, who identified the defendant by pointing her finger at him. Court filings say the defendant was approached, while he had a beer in his hand. Petelo was then transported to the police station for questioning, and while at the police station he allegedly threatened the family of the victim by saying “he’s going to kill them when he gets back”.


Police also spoke to the victim at the police station, who stated that she was in her house when the defendant called her downstairs saying that her uncle (who had reported the matter to police) wanted her. It’s alleged that when the victim went downstairs the defendant grabbed her, pulling her towards him, held her hand and kissed her.


The victim was emotional and did not want to write a statement so she was asked to come back to the police station the next day. The victim went to the police station the next day and told police that the defendant had also pulled down her pants and touched her inappropriately.


During the PX hearing — where Patea found that the government had sufficient evidence to have this matter bound over to High Court— the defendant asked the court for a chance to speak. Patea told him that if he wanted to tell the court something, he should talk to his attorney.


Petelo will be arraigned in High Court next week, where he will enter a plea to the charges against him.