Man accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old niece: Says an ‘evil spirit’ that made him do it
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 46-year-old man from Samoa accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old niece was arrested 2 weeks ago after authorities were tipped off by the victim’s grandmother about the alleged incident.
The defendant was arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.
(In the interest of protecting the minor victim, Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant, who is her uncle. The court affidavit provides the name of the defendant, but the victim is only referred to by her initials).
The defendant made his initial appearance in District Court two weeks ago. He later waived his right to a preliminary examination and the case was bound over to High Court where he entered a ‘not guilty’ plea during arraignment.
He is charged with sodomy; attempted rape; three counts of first degree sexual abuse - all felonies; and one misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child.
Bail is set at $50,000 and the pretrial conference is Feb. 24, 2020.
One of the conditions of release, if the defendant is able to post bail, is that he make no direct or indirect contact with the victim and her family, or any of the government’s witnesses.
It was the victim’s grandmother who notified police about the alleged abuse, after the victim shared with her what happened. According to the government, the defendant and the victim’s mother are second cousins.
The grandmother told police that according to the girl, the defendant always calls her on Saturdays to come over to his place in Ottoville to help her 12-year-old cousin (defendant’s daughter) with the laundry when his wife is out to town.
When the victim is done helping the defendant’s daughter with the laundry, she calls her grandma to pick her up in front of a store in the Tafuna area. When the grandmother asks the victim what she’s doing there, the victim always says she’s visiting a friend.
According to the grandmother, the victim was seen at the defendant’s house around November of last year, and when she asked the girl what she was doing there, the girl said her uncle (defendant) asked her to come over and cook for him because he is unable to walk due to a foot injury.
The grandmother recalled that on Dec. 5, 2019, the girl called and asked if she could pick her up. The woman said she took the girl to her house, and that’s when she opened up to her about what her uncle did to her one Saturday afternoon in October.
According to the grandma, the victim told her the defendant touched her breast and her private parts several times in his house and in his vehicle. Furthermore, her uncle touched himself in front of her and made her watch, and he also showed porn on his laptop that he would ask the victim to watch with him. According to what the girl told her grandma, her uncle also asked her to undress he could have a look at her naked body.
The victim provided a Samoan written statement to police, in which she claims that the first alleged incident happened September 2019 when she went to her uncle’s home to help his daughter with laundry. She said that while she was bent down, her uncle came from behind and touched her private parts. She said she quickly stood up and walked away but the defendant followed her and said, “Don’t be scared, this is just the beginning.”
At that time, the girl alleges her uncle continued to touch her private parts through her clothing. She said she was afraid because her uncle threatened her, saying if she told anyone, he would beat her up.
The second alleged incident took place October 2019 after the defendant was done watching an X-rated movie. According to the girl, her uncle threatened and forced her to take off her clothes, before he allegedly performed sex acts on her. The defendant also told her to touch herself, but she refused and closed her eyes.
The third alleged incident occurred on a Saturday afternoon in November. The victim told authorities her uncle was drinking beer while she was preparing food for the family. When she was done, she went to the living room to watch TV. And that’s when her uncle walked over and attempted to rape her, but she pushed him away and told him to stop.
She said she threatened him and told him she would scream or call the police. The victim said she cried and walked out of the house, to the main road, where she called her grandma to pick her up.
The victim said she told the defendant’s sister that the defendant sexually abused her after watching porn; and one night, he tried to rape her. According to the girl, the defendant’s wife and daughter were in town when he did these things to her.
Police interviewed the defendant’s sister, who confirmed the girl’s story. She said the victim informed her last month about her brother touching and rubbing her sexually. She said she told the victim to leave it to her, that she’d confront her brother and when she did, her brother told her he won’t do such things to the victim anymore.
When questioned by police, the defendant allegedly admitted to performing sexual acts on the victim between September and November 2019. According to him, it was an evil spirit that tempted him to do the things he did, and he fell for it because he was drunk and also on drugs.