Satala bar owner charged with promoting prostitution
The owner of the Karaoke Bar in Satala, accused of promoting prostitution and assault, has been charged. Fa’asaina Park who is represented by the Public Defender’s office will have her preliminary examination in the District Court today.
This hearing is for District Court Judge John Ward to determine if the government has sufficient evidence to have this case bound over to the High Court for other court proceedings or disposition.
The lead investigator in this case is Police officer Maria Penetusi of the Tafuna West Substation. Park is charged with promoting prostitution second degree, a class C felony punishable with up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $5,000 or both and two counts of third degree assault which are both class A misdemeanors, which carries a jail term of up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000.
The defendant who lives at the bar, was released from jail on $10,000 bail. According to the government, police received a call from the Airport Security guards that two women were seeking assistance from them “and they are scared to leave the (security) office”. Police arrived at the airport and spoke with the girls, who claimed they were assaulted by their sponsor inside the Karaoke bar in Satala.
Court filings say police spoke with “ILM” the first victim who noted that she’s from Samoa. She said she came to the territory to work for a restaurant. “Upon her arrival on October 10, 2012 she learned that the restaurant work happens to be a bar."
“ILM saw other girls were also working as the same bar, and their job description was to work as waitresses but aside from being a waitress they were told by their sponsor/boss (defendant) to sit with the customers, especially fishermen from fishing boats, to try and get them to spend all their money.”
Court filings say near closing time, the defendant would give permission to the customers to take the girls out to party. “ILM at first refused but was pushed by the defendant to go with the customer. The customer would pay for a room at the Scanlan motel in Fagatogo, the girl would perform sexual acts with the customer and the next day when the girl leaves, she leaves with $50 or $60 from the customer.”
It's alleged when ILM was asked by police, if she has any knowledge of whether the sponsor would collect any money from the customer before a girl leaves with the customer, ILM told police she has never seen defendant collect anything or knew of any money collected for them and she didn't know if there were any rates for the customer when taking a girl out to party.
ILM defined “party” as going out with the customer after the bar closes and having sex with the customer or performing sexual acts on the customer. ILM further stated to police that she had been with several fishermen since she has been working for the Karaoke bar and she has had sex on numerous occasions with different fishermen.
“She felt like she was forced by the defendant to go with the men; she went willingly, but she was scared what the defendant would do if she didn’t go.”
ILM said she never received any paychecks as a waitress and has just been given $50 to buy clothes and if there is leftover money to buy some canned foods.
The second girl, MW said she started working at the bar as a waitress, however after a while she was doing more than just waitressing in the bar and she was pushed by the defendant to sit at the bar with customers to ensure that they spend all their money on beer. The customer would also provide the girl with beer. “Around closing time, defendant would prep the girls to go with customer and party."
“MW has gone partying with several customers, who are fishermen only to party and have sex with them.” She told police she went willingly, but only because she was scared of what the defendant may do to her, if she didn’t comply.
However, on April 20, 2013, MW refused to go with a customer and was assaulted by the defendant. MW told police she then got into the taxi with the customer, however the customer also wanted ILM, so MW went to defendant for permission and the defendant refused to allow either of them to go. It’s alleged the defendant punched MW on her back and came outside to the taxi, where she pulled ILM’s hair and slapped her.
MW told police she too had not received any pay checks since she started working at the Karaoke bar. MW suffered several bruises on her back and claims she also had pain on her neck from the assault. She was taken to the hospital for further treatment, according to the affidavit.
Police were informed the defendant purchased the girl’s return tickets to Samoa, however they ran to the security office for assistance when they got to the airport, and police were contacted.
Samoa News understands the girls are now staying at the Social Services shelter.