OP-ED: DRUGS, SEX, & MYSTERIOUS HANGINGS

 
Imagine this child witnessing her father’s drug use and the paralyzing confusion and horror when her father started to initiate sexual contact upon her body. According to SN, the child reported 7 different times of the alleged abuse.
 
Interesting enough is that the father always found her alone, had enough presence of mind to terrorize her to silence. Threatening to kill her mother and siblings while continuing his sexual abuse.
 
It is becoming more common for an enabling/ culpable mother to conveniently be absent, sleep away from or with a younger child, while the father violates their daughter. The victim can also be a son.
 
A father sexually violating his underage daughter claiming to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not a new thing in American Samoa, but it is a concealed fact. Several have done their time in TCF and some are out on parole or probation. Some are well employed and others are waiting to be caught. Then there are those applying for Pardons.
 
The Sex Offenders Registration Notification Act is finally activated in American Samoa. (SORNA) Any sex related offense, conviction, and kidnapping is being registered. It includes their names, pictures and fingerprints. This is now public information provided through the Attorney General’s office.
 
Other alarming drug related cases that seem to be increasing are hangings and strangulations vs. suicides or homicides. Trafficking of drugs and alcohol related homicides, suicides or negligent vehicular accidents are making their marks on the island.
 
Meanwhile the Police Commissioner’s DPS investigation teams appear to be overwhelmed while trying to sort these out. These trails stretch from the eastern district but more so on the western district of American Samoa. Many of these cases are still pending investigations. Most interesting is that these questionable and mysterious suicide/ homicide cases are buried unsolved — Out of sight, Out of mind?
 
No matter how we look at it and try to justify or turn a blind eye to the increase of drug trafficking and use on our island; its influence on sexual violence, suicides, murder and vehicular accidents has come to roost inside our homes.
 
The Commissioner of the American Samoa Department of Public Safety is entrusted with the duties of protecting and safeguarding our people from all forms of crime. Investing into the ongoing training of our police force should be a priority. There is still an alarming backlog of criminal investigations that have not made it to the Attorney General’s office.
 
The muck of human trafficking is surfacing again (sn 9/23/16). Now the FBI tags American Samoa as the transit point for human and labor trafficking. It appears the traffickers have found an unprotected back door to funnel victims for pickup in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
 
How could this happen when we have the best and most resourceful and powerful Immigration office in the Pacific who guards, monitors and patrols our borders? An Immigration Board that diligently weeds out and prevents the entering of undesirables, and unintentionally lets sex offenders in? 
 
We have the federally funded Customs, Homeland Security, Coast Guard and Marine & Wildlife.
 
Who monitors these questionable abandoned or stationary boats in our own harbor? Who even monitors the activities that are going on in our own bay?  How did they come in on a one-way ticket?
 
With our lax border controls, it is conceivably easy to herd a bunch of foreigners to be stocked or warehoused in an abandoned container, dingy or a boat waiting for the next tide out.
 
Unfortunately for women and us, the known middlemen who are working these culpable agencies are the ones selling out our people while getting richer through our own ignorance, greed and corruption.
 
Should we the people of American Samoa be concerned with this lapse of professional insight?
 
Governors, Cabinet members, House of Representatives, Senators, and Congressional reps to include Church leaders come and go. We the citizens of American Samoa are the ones that will inherit and inhale their fragrance while they are in office.
 
We are all accountable for our actions or inaction.
 
GET OUT and VOTE for a violence, drug & alcohol free, safe and healthy environment for our home American Samoa. Happy Election Day!

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