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Two men charged with raping 16-year-old girl who is now pregnant

A 62-year-old matai or chief of Fagaima and a 22-year-old man made initial appearances in the District Court yesterday in connection with a case involving a 16-year-old girl who was impregnated as a result of the alleged sexual acts.

The Criminal Investigation Division (CID) with the Department of Public Safety executed the arrests warrants on the two men and escorted them to the District Court and back to the Tafuna Correctional Facility following their appearance in court.

The pair is facing charges of rape, first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. Samoa News is withholding the names of the defendants to protect the identity of the victim.

According to the government’s case, the incident came to light when a relative of the victim filed a complaint with CID on February 27, 2012. The relative, who reported the matter to police, accused the matai as the one who got the 16-year old girl pregnant.

It’s alleged that when police questioned the victim, she told police she had sexual intercourse with two men, her neighbor who’s 22 and her uncle, a matai of the family.

The victim told police she had sex with her neighbor during a period between October 2011 and January 2012. According to court filings when police questioned the neighbor, he was advised of his constitutional rights, however he waived them and made a written statement to police.

The government claims the neighbor admitted to police that he met the victim in October 2011, but he did not have sex with her until December 2011, up to January 2012.

According to court filings the victim told police she also had a sexual relationship with the 62-year-old man. According to police the victim is related to the 62-year old, who is the victim’s family sponsor and the matai of their family.  

The court filing states that the uncle instructed the victim not to say anything to anyone regarding the alleged sexual acts. The government claims the victim told her mother, who then approached the matai and his wife. It’s alleged he knelt in front of the victim’s mother, apologizing for what he did.

Court filings state that when the victim’s father approached the matai, the matai apologized and said “evil had conquered him”.

According to court filings, police contacted the 62-year-old man, who refused to give them a statement. The court filing also noted that the matai, who’s a former teacher, was also convicted in a sexual assault case back in September 1997.

On the issue of bail for the matai, which was initially set at $50,000, Sharron Rancourt, who is representing him, asked the court to reduce her client’s bail to $30,000 stating that the accused was well aware of the police investigation regarding this and yet he did not depart the territory. District Court Judge John Ward reduced bail to $35,000 for the matai.

Assistant Attorney General Blake Hanley asked the court to maintain bail at $50,000, given that this defendant specifically asked the victim not to say anything to anyone about the sex acts.

Bail for the neighbor was initially set at $20,000, however Assistant Public Defender Karen Shelley asked the court to reduce his bail as he has no prior record, and was also cooperative with police.

Ward reduced bail for this defendant to $15,000. A status hearing for the pair would have preliminary examination hearings set for this Thursday.

The preliminary examination (PX) is a hearing where the district court will determine if the government has enough evidence to have the case bound over to the High Court.