Man charged in three separate cases — including child abuse and assault
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A father of four accused of physically abusing his 13-year-old son before he turned around and allegedly assaulted a female neighbor who reported the child abuse incident to police is now in custody, after he was arrested two months ago.
During his arrest, police discovered illegal drugs in the defendant’s possession. Moreover, it was also discovered that there was an active warrant for the defendant for his role in a burglary and stealing case one year ago when a group of young men allegedly broke into a house in the Fatuoaiga area and stole several items and $980 cash.
According to the government’s case, the child abuse incident allegedly happened on Jan. 20, 2021 while the assault on the man who reported the alleged abuse happened on Feb. 14, 2021, three weeks later.
(Samoa News has chosen to not identify any of the individuals involved in the incident in order to protect the privacy of the victims.)
The defendant was served with a copy of the arrest warrant when he appeared in Court for assaulting his neighbor. It was during his initial appearance where the government’s attorney informed the court that they filed three separate cases against the defendant.
In the first case, the father is charged with one count of child abuse and one count of 2nd degree assault, both class D felonies, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both; along with one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
in the second case, the defendant is charged with one count of 2nd degree assault, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both; along with one count of trespass, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
In the third case, the defendant is charged with one count of unlawful possession of methamphetamine (meth) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana, both unclassified felonies, punishable by imprisonment terms from 5-10 years, a $20,000 fine or both.
Bail is set at $35,000.
If he posts bond, the defendant is ordered not to set foot at his home in Taputimu where his wife and children reside, but to find another place to stay while this case is pending in court. Furthermore, the defendant is ordered to make all of his court appearances, stay in close contact with his attorney, and remain law abiding.
CHILD ABUSE CASE
On Jan. 20, 2021, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from a 38-year-old woman asking for assistance regarding a 13-year-old being assaulted and abused by his biological father. The woman further stated to police that this is not the first time this man allegedly assaulted his children.
Several police officers responded to the call and interviewed the woman who reported the case, before they went to interview the father of the13-year-old.
The woman told police that the 13-year-old boy and his family lived next to her house. Two days prior to the time where she requested police assistance, she heard the young boy screaming for help while his father (defendant) was beating him up using a long tree branch.
Two days after the alleged beating, the woman saw scratches and swelling on the young boy’s body while the boy was playing with her grandchildren in front of her house. She questioned the boy about the scratches and bruises and he told her that it was from the time when his father beat him up two days ago for disobeying his instructions.
After interviewing the victim, the woman immediately contacted police to report the incident because this is not the first time she has witnessed bruises on this young boy’s body, along with other siblings.
Police picked up the victim’s father (defendant) for questioning regarding the incident two days later and transported him to the TPS. During the interview, investigators informed the father that he was not under arrest and he could leave at any time he wanted. The father looked nervous and made contradicting statements to investigators.
In the beginning of the interview, the father strongly denied the allegation that he abused his son, however in the middle of the interview, he wished to change his statement and admitted to investigators that he beat his son badly because he was very upset with him for disobeying his instructions. He had instructed his son (victim) to stay at the house with his 11-year-old brother while he and his 6-year-old son went to drop his wife at work.
However, when he returned home, his son (victim) was at their neighbor’s house playing with his friends while his younger son was watching TV alone inside the house. That’s when the defendant beat up his son using a belt causing bruises all over his body including his back and hands.
After the interview, the father was released to go home awaiting the report from the LBJ Hospital regarding the injuries the victim sustained from the alleged beating. The father was advised that police would pick him up again if they need more additional information regarding this matter.
The investigators continued on with their investigation regarding this matter.
ASSAULT CASE AGAINST THE 38-YEAR-OLD WOMAN
The government claims that on Feb. 14th, 2021, the TPS received a call from a man in the Fatuaiga area asking for police assistance after his wife was allegedly assaulted by a neighbor. The man who allegedly assaulted her was later identified as the father of the young victim, who had been released by police in December of last year after being interviewed regarding the alleged beating of his son.
Several police officers responded to the call and arrived at the caller’s house and witnessed a woman sitting in her house crying — she was surrounded by her husband and three young children.
Officers also observed that the woman’s face was swollen and had scratches. Blood was also seen coming from the victim’s nose and above her left eye from a two-inch cut.
The victim told officers that she was assaulted by the defendant (the neighbor). Officers tried to locate him on that day but were unsuccessful.
According to the victim’s statement to officers, she was working in her garden at the back of her house and was alarmed when the suspect walked over to her very angry and questioned her about the reason why she reported to police the incident where he had beaten his son for disobeying his instructions.
The defendant was loud and told the woman she had no business interfering with his family matter.
While the woman was trying to explain her side of the story, the defendant immediately assaulted her by pushing her head down, pulling her hair and then punched her in the left eye.
As the victim was trying her best to push the defendant away from her, the defendant grabbed the victim’s head and smashed it against a tree multiple times before he choked her neck, at the same he was asking her why she reported the incident about his son to the police.
The government stated that while the defendant was assaulting the victim, the victim was calling out for help and begging the defendant to forgive her for what she had done. The defendant told the victim, “You see what I’m going to do to you, your husband and your whole family.”
Around 6 p.m on the same date, Feb. 14th, 2021, police visited the defendant’s house again and found him home, drinking beer with another man. The defendant was apprehended and transported to the TPS for questioning.
Before he was transported to the TPS, the defendant was patted down and during the body search police discovered a black pouch inside his right pocket. Inside the black pouch, police discovered two small baggies containing a white crystalline substance, and another small baggie containing a green leafy substance.
After police Mirandized him, the defendant told investigators that he understood his rights and was willing to make a statement about what happened.
When asked about the illegal drugs allegedly found in his possession, the defendant admitted that the drugs belonged to him. He said he bought the drugs from a man who walks about the village selling illegal drugs.
When asked about the alleged beating of the woman, the defendant admitted that he assaulted her out of anger after she reported him to police about the assault. The defendant told police that he did not appreciate the victim’s action and it’s none of her business to put her nose into his family affairs.
It’s not clear at this time whether the government is going to charge the defendant for his role in a burglary and stealing case one year ago where several young men including two juveniles broke into a home in the Fatuoaiga area and stole several items including cash. The government stated that they need more information regarding the defendant’s involvement in this case.