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Brother accused of allegedly trying to sexually assault his 11-year-old sister


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — On April 19, 2024, at about 9:35 p.m, a woman contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) to report that her 11-year-old cousin was sexually assaulted by her (the victim’s) older brother in their home in Nu'uuli.

The defendant was charged with four counts of Assault in the Third Degree (DV) — a class C misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen (15) days, a fine of $300.00 but not less than $150.00, or both.

Bail for the defendant was set at $2000.

(Samoa News has withheld names of those involved to protect the identity of the victim, a minor.)

Upon arrival at the scene, police officers met with the reporter, who is a cousin of the victim, and she gave a brief explanation of the situation and directed them to the suspect’s home. The suspect was apprehended as he walked out of the house and as his mother and younger sister (victim) arrived home from the store.

Police officers spoke with the victim and suspect’s mother and requested that she and the victim make their way to the TPS so the victim could provide her statement, with which she (mother) agreed.

Police officers interviewed the victim in the presence of her mother. She recalled to police that on April 10th at about 5:00 p.m, “she was reading a book in the room when her brother (suspect) leaned towards her and tried to kiss her but she pushed him away and told him she was scared.” She explained that later “her brother said that if she told anyone he would beat her up.”

The victim further stated that later on in the week, on April 12th at about 7:00pm, “after she finished taking a shower and was trying to look for her clothes” another incident occurred. The victim stated “her brother who was in her room approached and tried to remove her bathing towel but she used all her strength to push her brother off. As she struggled to push him away she screamed, ‘Mom! Mom!’ and her brother ran out of the room and left.” She explained that before the suspect left the room, he told her that if she told her mom “he was going to beat her.”

Police officers noted that the victim did not tell her mother about what happened because she was afraid that the suspect would harm her, and that her brother had not touched her body.

On April 19th at about 11:00 p.m, the victim said that another incident occurred.

The victim stated “she was so scared to go back home which made her tell her 16-year-old brother that their older brother tried to force himself on her.” After the victim’s explanation, her brother went to confront their older brother (suspect) about what he tried to do to their sister. The victim said that “out of anger, he (suspect) stood up and held a kitchen knife and yelled at her saying, ‘Why are you lying?’ and tried to scare her” by throwing the knife at her. The victim revealed that “her brother intervened and punched the suspect but his right hand was cut from the knife that the suspect was holding.” After punching the suspect, her brother ran out of the house.

The victim followed soon after because the suspect “told her to get the hell out of the house”. It was when she was sitting in the front of her house crying that she was approached by her cousin (male) who asked, “What’s wrong?” and she replied that the suspect had chased her out of the house.

Her cousin began to question her, asking if it was true that the suspect had tried to force himself on her, in which she replied “yes”.

Her cousin then confronted the suspect asking why he had chased his sister out of the house, “but he said he didn’t”. The suspect then stood up and threatened to throw the piece of lumber he was holding at her but her cousin “intervened and got a hold of the lumber and threw the suspect underneath the bed inside the house.”

She was instructed by her cousin to leave the house and come with him.

Child Protective Services (CPS) was contacted and informed of the case involving a minor.

On the same evening, the woman who contacted the TPS to report the incident provided her statement.

She stated, “she was inside the house when she heard her cousins talking about their cousin being sexually assaulted by her brother.” She questioned her cousin (victim) and “was told that the suspect has tried twice to force himself on to her” which was why she contacted the TPS for assistance.

 Police officers interviewed the victim’s 16-year-old brother told police that “he went to the store to buy groceries and when he got back, he found his sister crying in front of their home.”

He explained that he asked her what was wrong but she refused to tell him. He then continued to question her and explained that their cousins told him that their older brother (suspect) tried to force himself on her two weeks before. He further expressed that he told his sister that they were going to go back to the house to confront their older brother. It was then that they went to their home and he confronted his brother about “his disgusting actions”. He stated, “his brother stood up and pointed the knife towards their little sister and said ‘why are you lying’ and scared her by trying to throw her with the knife.” He then punched his brother and was injured by the knife the suspect was holding. Afterwards, he (16 year-old) ran out of the house.

Police officers reported that the 16-year-old brother sustained a scratch on his right hand in between his knuckles. Their mother said that her son did not need medical treatment for the injury.

On April 20th at about 12:07 a.m, the victim’s male cousin (mentioned in the victim’s statement) was also interviewed and provided a statement. He stated that his little brother came and told him that the victim was crying in front of their house. “When he spoke with her, he was told that her own brother (suspect) tried to force himself on her. He told her to follow him and he was taking her back home. He claimed that when they got to the house, he confronted the suspect about chasing the victim out of the house. The suspect denied chasing her out. The cousin then explained that the suspect stood up with a piece of lumber that he held in his hand and tried to throw it at the victim but he (cousin) intervened and threw the suspect under a bed in the house. He (cousin) then instructed the victim to come with him. The cousin then explained the situation to his sister who corroborated the statement.

At around 12:40 a.m, the suspect was Mirandized and provided his statement.

The suspect claimed that “he was innocent” and that “he did no such things to his sister”. The suspect admitted to “trying to throw his sister with the knife and also admitted to injuring his brother with the knife he was holding.” The suspect also said that the reason he tried to throw the piece of lumber at his sister was because “she was saying lies”.

The defendant was booked and transported to the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) to be confined.

CPS completed their assessment and placed the child in their custody.

The suspect is identified as a 22-year-old U.S. National.