Man accused of beating disabled daughter will be arraigned this morning
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of abusing his disabled daughter was arrested by police last week and charged.
Samoa News has chosen not to identify the defendant in this matter in order to protect the privacy of the alleged victim. Also, noted is that court affidavit does not identify the victim as mentally or physically challenged — only that she is “disabled”.
The defendant made his initial appearance before Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea in District Court last week. He is represented by Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Robert Morrison III.
The defendant is charged with one count of abuse of an elderly or disabled adult involving domestic violence act, a class C felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of up to $5,000, but not less than $150, pursuant to A.S.C.A 47.0402, or both.
Bail is set at $10,000.
If he posts bond, the court ordered the defendant not to have any direct or indirect contact with the victim in this case, nor should he try in any way to reach out to her. He’s ordered to provide care for his other children who stay with him at his home and not to threaten them nor abuse them in any way.
The court further ordered the defendant to remain law abiding, make all of his court appearances and stay in close contact with his attorney.
The defendant appeared in Court last Thursday for his preliminary examination (PX), however, he waived his rights to a PX and his case was bound over to the High Court for further proceedings.
He’s scheduled to appear in High Court this morning for arraignment.
On Nov. 7th, 2020 at approximately 2:34 p.m a security guard at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) contacted the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) regarding a disabled female who barged into the ASCC Security Office requesting help with her Dad who allegedly assaulted her.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the security guard at his office at the ASCC compound. While entering the Security Office at the ASCC, officers observed a female individual sitting on a chair in the office. The female was later identified as the victim in this case. The police officers described her as panicking, shaking and scared.
The victim was later transported to the TPS for further investigation after officers questioned the ASCC security guard regarding the case.
Upon arrival at the TPS, investigators met up with the victim where she stated her name but did not remember her date of birth, that’s when investigators noticed that she had some disability; however she was open [or clear] minded and remembered every detail of what had occurred at the time of the alleged incident.
As she was speaking with investigators, the victim kept looking around and sometimes looking out of the window. When asked by one investigator about the reason why she keeps looking around the office and outside the window, the victim replied that she’s afraid of her dad and she’s looking around to see if he’s coming back to beat her up.
Investigators made it clear to the victim that she’s in a safe place and if her dad comes to the police station, he would not be allowed to touch her. She’s now under police protection and care.
When asked about the incident, the victim stated with tears that she was doing her own thing when her niece came up to her and tried to interrupt her. Her niece is her sister’s daughter.
After she scolded her niece, her niece then went and woke up the victim’s dad who was asleep in the room. She heard her dad calling her name from inside the house to not bother her niece again.
As she continued with her own tasks, her niece came back to her for the second time and tried to interrupt her. She then scolded her niece and told her to stop what she was doing. Her niece went back and woke up the victim’s dad again.
That’s when her dad quickly came outside of the room, allegedly grabbed a toy gun that was lying on the floor and threw it at her and hit her in the right eye. The victim stated that she felt a lot of pain and that’s when she told her dad that she is going to call the cops on him because he assaulted her and she was feeling a lot of pain in her eye.
The defendant got angry and yelled at his daughter and chased after her outside of the house. At first, the victim thought that her dad would not come after her, however, when she saw that he was serious and he was coming to beat her up, that’s when she ran away from her dad calling out for help.
While she was running and calling for help, she accidentally fell in front of the neighbor’s house and hit her face on the ground. While she was on the ground trying to get up, her dad came and immediately pulled her hair, dragging her body over the ground while slapping and punching her several times in the facial area.
She called out to her dad to please give her another chance but he did not stop punching and slapping her. The victim cried out and called out to the neighbors for help knowing that her dad was going to beat her badly.
Her neighbor heard her cries and rushed outside of her house to offer help. When the defendant saw the neighbor, he stopped assailing his daughter and immediately walked away.
The neighbor took the victim down to the ASCC Security office and asked one of the security guards to call police for help. Throughout the whole interview, the victim was still shaking and looking nervous.
EMS personnel were contacted for assistance and the victim was later transported to the LBJ Medical Hospital for further treatment. The victim told investigators that she felt pain on her head when she fell on the ground and also the time when her dad pulled her hair and punched her several times. The victim sustained scrapes on her left knee and redness on her right knee from falling.
Social Services was contacted and two of their agents conducted an assessment on the victim’s condition and they informed investigators that the victim is scared to return home because of the beating from her dad (the defendant in this matter).
The victim further stated to Social Services agents that she has family in Pavaiai her mother’s sister and her husband and she is comfortable staying with them.
After interviewing the victim, several police officers proceeded to the defendant’s home to locate him, however, they were told by one of the defendant’s daughters that her dad (defendant) was not at home.
Police officers visited the defendant’s house twice on the next day and they were provided with the same answer by one of the defendant’s daughter.
Officers patrolling the Mesepa area in an effort to locate the defendan later spotted him in front of a Vietnamese restaurant in Malaeimi. The defendant was apprehended and transported to the TPS for questioning regarding the alleged beating of his daughter.
After being Mirandized, the defendant said he understood and was willing to make a statement.
According to the defendant’s statement to investigators, he consumed alcohol on the day of the incident where he drank 6 cans of beer. He was sleeping in the room in his house when his granddaughter came and woke him up twice telling him the victim — his daughter — was beating her up.
It was the second time he was awoken that he got mad and walked outside and assaulted his daughter by throwing a toy gun at her.
His daughter then yelled at him saying that she was going to call the police and started running outside the house. The defendant got upset, stood up and ran after her.
The defendant stated that while his daughter was running she fell on the ground and that’s when he grabbed the collar of her shirt and pulled it towards him and slapped her in the face four times. That’s when his daughter ran to their neighbor’s house for help while he went back home.
Investigators interviewed the Good Samaritan who helped the victim. According to her statement, she was in her house when she heard someone calling out to her for help. She ran outside of her house and saw the victim outside of her house, crying.
The witness stated that while they were inside her house with the victim, the victim told her that she was beaten up by her dad.