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Man convicted of assaulting wife now arrested for abusing his nephew

American Samoa District Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man convicted of assaulting his wife, who was sentenced by the High Court to 5 years probation, is now in custody after being arrested by police last week and accused of child abuse of his 3-year-old nephew.

The man, Tino Tapuaiaalupe made his initial appearance in District Court last week. He is charged with a single count of abuse of a child involving domestic violence, a class D felony, punishable by term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Bail is set at $5,000.


On Apr. 20, 2021 at about 3:36, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a phone call from a woman reporting her brother (defendant) allegedly assaulted her 3-year-old son. Several police officers responded to the call and met with the reporter in front of her residence in Ottoville.

The woman told officers that her brother (defendant) was in the house. The defendant walked out of the house and officers immediately apprehended him and placed him in a police unit for later transported him to the TPS for further investigation.

Officers observed abrasions and bruises on the left facial area of the victim. Both the victim and his mother were also transported to the TPS for questioning regarding the matter. EMS was contacted regarding the victim’s injuries.

The victim’s mother, along with other family members were interviewed by investigators regarding the incident.

According to the victim’s mother, she was loading her laundry inside her dad’s car to be taken to the laundromat. Her son was crying loudly outside the house due to her leaving, and she heard her brother (defendant) yelling at her son to be quiet. She continued to the laundromat and about ten minutes later her phone rang. It was her older daughter saying that she has to come home to take T.P (victim) to the hospital because Tino (defendant) had slapped and kicked the 3-year old in the face.

Returning home, she saw her son crying and saw his facial injuries and that’s when she contacted police. She further stated to investigators that her brother (defendant) abuses her kids often and she has warned him several times.

Investigators also interviewed the victim’s sister regarding this matter in the presence of her mother. She told investigators that she witnessed Tino (defendant) slap her little brother (victim) three times in the facial area and also kick him in his face, and her brother cried. She was scared so she called her mother to take her brother to the hospital.

Tapuaialupe was Mirandized upon arrival at the TPS and he waived his rights in a written and verbal statement obtained by officers.

The defendant confirmed he had hit and kicked his nephew, but only after he heard him giving his mother a hard time. He was trying to sleep at the time.

The defendant further told  investigators that he tried his best to teach his sister’s children how to behave themselves, however, he thinks he over reacted and disciplined his nephew while he was angry.

The defendant was booked ad later transported to the Tafuna Correctional Facility (TCF) where he was detained awaiting the next sitting of court.