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Bus driver faces multiple sex charges, including rape

[SN file photo]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 28-year-old bus driver accused of engaging in sexual activities with a 17-year-old girl has been charged with rape, kidnapping, sodomy, and first degree sexual abuse.

Michael Sene made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia yesterday morning, and his preliminary examination (PX) is set for today.

His bail has been set at $50,000

Sene is being represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Bianca Lherisson.

If he is able to post bond, Sene will be released on the condition that he make all of his court appearances, not leave or attempt to leave the territory; he has to surrender all his travel documents to the government, and he must not have direct or indirect contact with the victim. If he encounters her in public, he must walk away from her peacefully.


The matter was reported to police on Nov. 2, 2017 by a local resident seeking assistance for a teenage girl who was possibly raped.

The victim — the teenage girl — told police that on Oct. 31, 2017 after class at ASCC, she went looking for her friend and she couldn't find her, and that's when she (the victim) hopped on a bus heading towards Leone and recognized the bus driver as Michael Sene, who she knew through her friend (the one she was looking for).

According to the victim, she allegedly asked the bus driver if he had seen her friend and the bus driver said no. She then sat down and began talking to the bus driver while the bus was heading to Leone.

The court affidavit states that  Sene allegedly asked the victim if she could go with him to drop off other passengers, but she said no because her parents might look for her. Sene allegedly told her that he would drop her off afterwards, but she continued to refuse.

However, she finally agreed to ride with Sene after he persisted. After they passed her residence without stopping to drop her off, Sene allegedly told the victim to go to the back of the bus and stay there. He is alleged to have told her that he would drop her off later that night and that it was going to be fast.

According to the government, Sene drove the bus straight to Nu'uuli, after the victim closed all the bus windows, not stopping to pick up any passengers on the road. He allegedly took her into a shack in Nu’uuli.

Sene walked in first, called the victim to come in, and once she entered, he allegedly locked the door.

The victim told police that once they were inside the shack, Sene asked her if they could have sex but she said no because she has a boyfriend.

The government claims that after hearing the victim’s response, Sene allegedly grabbed her hands, pulled her closer to him, and told her they were going to make love — all the while, the victim says she continued to refuse and tried to push Sene away.

The two scuffled for awhile, and according to the victim, she told Sene that she was going to scream for help, but Sene continued to pull her closer until he allegedly raped her.

The government further claims that while Sene was allegedly raping the victim, the girl continued to fight back and told him she wanted to go home.

Sene, says prosecutors, was too strong and the victim was unable to stop him.

The court affidavit further says that after the alleged incident took place, Sene stood on a chair and laughed at the victim as she was trying to stand up. Later that night, Sene is alleged to have driven the victim home in his bus and dropped her off in front of a store close to her house.

Sene was pulled over by police on Nov. 3, 2017 and was escorted to the Tafuna substation for questioning.

Court documents say that during the interview with police, Sene echoed everything the victim had shared with investigators. He allegedly told police he knew the victim through her friend and on Oct. 31st, he picked up the victim from ASCC and took her to his house in Nu'uuli and raped her.

He also allegedly told police that the victim refused to have sexual intercourse with him, but he forced her to have sex with him because he really wanted to.