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Woman facing felony assault over alleged beatings of grandson

A grandmother who assaulted her grandson has been arrested and charged on allegations that she beat the boy with a piece of wood and sometimes with a metal stick, say court filings. Priscilla Schwalger, A.K.A. Sila Aiono, is facing charges of second-degree assault, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, which is a misdemeanor.


According to the government’s case, on September 24, 2013 an incident involving a ten-year-old boy was reported to Commander of the Criminal Investigation Division, Lavata’i Ta’ase Sagapolutele, by Child Protective Services with the Department of Human and Social Services, and Detective Leaupepetele Vili Fa’apouli was assigned to investigate the matter.


Court filings allege the defendant began beating the victim when he moved into the Schwalger’s house at the age of ten and the last incident was September 22, 2013.


The government’s case further claims that on September 18, 2013 the boy was allegedly assaulted by the defendant, where she used a stick to hit the boy several times on his head, body and facial area. The “victim stated that he had injuries and defendant kept on hitting him but did not take him to the hospital.”


Another incident occurred on September 22, 2013 around noon where the boy was allegedly assaulted for not memorizing his memory (Bible) verse. The victim was struck on the buttocks four times with a board and as a result, the victim’s buttocks and backside were swollen and bruised.


It's alleged the victim was unable to sit, laydown or use the restroom due to the severity of the beating. “The victim’s injuries were photographed, which showed new and old injuries including bald and bloody areas on his head, scars throughout his body and a deep bruise on his buttocks area.”


Court filings say the victim also recalled an incident where his grandmother struck his head with a stick several times and he sustained a cut on his head, for losing her pet chicken.


“He stated that his head was bleeding but the defendant kept on hitting him.”


The victim’s sister told police that one time, Schwalger struck the victim with a billiard stick when the boy failed to deliver a message to their neighbor. “E.A stated that most of the time when he gets home from school the victim had already been beaten with his head and face all messed up from the beating.”


Fa’apouli spoke to the defendant who allegedly admitted to beating the victim with the billiard stick several times on the head and body for not doing his chores and for being “hard headed sometimes.” The defendant allegedly told police that she kept the victim at home from going to school because she believed that the school would find out about his injuries and feared that they might report her to the authorities.


The defendant’s daughter was another witness who told police the defendant would hit the victim with the billiard stick and she would try to intervene and tell her mother to stop. One time the daughter told police that after the defendant beat the victim she took him in the shower and massaged him with herbal leaves.


Court filings say that on September 24, 2013, the victim was seen at the hospital, and his injures noted by a pediatrician. “The victim suffered from new and old head wounds in different stages of healing, including fresh bleeding wounds.


“There was also an old burn scar on the left shoulder, scars and scratches on the right side of the victim’s face, old scars on the back and right forearm, and scars on both knees from kneeling punishment,” the doctor wrote.


According to the government’s case, when the victim was in the hospital for a second check-up, another physician's evaluation observed scars and signs of physical trauma.


There were also lacerations mentioned in the evaluation and multiple scars of varying ages from traumatic injuries — with some injuries to the head, scalp and elbows appearing to be somewhat recent due to scabs on top of the healing lacerations and scars.


The grandmother has since been arraigned in the High Court where she denied the charges against her.