“SEXUAL HARASSMENT CONDONED IN DPS”

Dear Editor,

 It's finally out that even women in the American Samoa Department of Public Safety police force are vulnerable and unprotected against sexual predators wearing badges.

A female CID detective was sexually harassed by the commander of a DPS Substation while on duty. Her traumatic experience suddenly took on an unexpected spin.

The detective initiated a police report and reported her ordeal to the Watch Commander the day it happened. He in turn informed the Internal Affairs officer resulting in a meeting with the victim before the Commissioner, his two seasoned Deputy Commissioners, and the Police Chief.

Four days later the detective was summoned by the Police Commissioner. He informed her his decision has been made. Disciplinary action against the sex offender is 'leave without pay and the “CASE IS CLOSED”.' Later the victim found out it was leave without pay for 5 days.

It appears this seasoned Commander in charge of the substation used his official position to exercise his authority to force himself upon his victim.

April 3, 2018 after being contacted, I became involved. Following day, the entire report that was obtained was packaged up and hand delivered to the Prosecutors office staff through the Attorney General's Office.

This report must not be suppressed by the Commissioner.

Depriving the victim of her rights for due process, the Commissioner and his deputies further stripped her of any shred of human dignity or sense of safety and protection under the covering of the Public Safety Department.

How deplorable that a CID agent, a wife, mother of four was sexually assaulted by one of the seasoned Commanders. The victim was treated with such indifference and callousness by the Police Commissioner and his two Deputy Commissioners it makes me wonder how many silent female victims are employed there. Silent for fear of their jobs to support their children and families.

This type of bullying, domineering and illegal authority, opened the victim up to ongoing harassment, threats and inevitably an easy victim of rape.

The victims of these abuses of authority often are vulnerable women — street prostitutes, drug addicts, juvenile runaways, drunk drivers, victims of domestic violence, and traffic violators. In this case it is being primed right in the midst of the American Samoa Law Enforcement.

The Commissioner’s lack of respect for the law and attitude towards this woman is a danger to the community and the badge he wears. His actions prove he will not protect the dignity and safety of women in his own police force and condones sexual harassment and sexual assault within the force.

On hindsight along the scheme of things:

A Director of Human and Social Services publicly humiliated one of his workers by sexually harassing her for being a faafafine;

The Immigration Chief was implicated on sexual harassment and assault against an immigrant; and,

There is a pending case against the Governor’s Chief of Staff for sexual assault. As of today the Governor’s office is still silent on these reports against his cabinet members.

And then there right behind the Governor’s cabinet members, a pending sexual assault case of a prominent teacher in Leone High School against a male student.

These trusted leaders have solidified a track record of indifference and open violations of human rights. They hold positions of opportunity to victimize, oppress and suppress women and children under a reign of a pathetic cowardly attitude on sexual violence.

Who holds these violators, often family men with stellar professional reputations and active members of the church, accountable for their actions and decision making?

Public outcry against those who violate our mothers, sisters and daughters must be made. These scum of humanity should be prosecuted to the furthest extent of the law.

Across the free world nations, powerful men accused of sexual harassment, and misconducts i.e. Senators, Congressmen, Judges, coaches, educators, media and social gurus, resulted in their being terminated, fired, forced resignations, imprisoned, etc.

The law was violated and crimes against humanity were committed. Is there justice for the people of the US Territory of American Samoa?

Ipu Avegalio Lefiti

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