Man who allegedly raped 10-year-old girl not new to court system
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 55-year-old man from Leloaloa was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Nu’uuli after allegedly raping and molesting a 10-year-old girl several times. According to court documents, the man is alleged to have given the girl money each time after the alleged sexual encounters.
Ioakimo Felise, who made his initial appearance before District Court Judge Fiti Sunia yesterday morning, is being held on a "no bail" status.
Felise's attorney did not argue to establish a bail amount for his client, but he did tell the court that he is deferring his arguments to a later time.
Prosecuting the case is assistant attorney general, Woodrow Pengelly.
Felise is facing ten criminal charges, including 3 counts of child molestation, one count of rape, 2 counts of sodomy, and 4 counts of first degree sexual abuse — all felonies that carry hefty fines and long terms of imprisonment.
According to the court affidavit, the case was reported to police by two females who saw the young girl — followed by an unknown male — running down from a mountainous area in Nuuuli.
The two females then managed to flag down a police unit that was in the area, and reported what they saw, including where the young girl was running.
Without any delay, the two female cops who responded, made a turn and headed straight to where the young girl was. They placed the minor in the police unit.
The court affidavit notes that the young girl’s body was covered in dirt; she appeared scared and was also crying.
With the victim secured in the police unit, the two cops headed eastbound in an effort to locate the alleged perpetrator.
While passing a store in Nuuuli, police officers observed a male walking towards another store. The victim immediately identified the man as the one who allegedly raped her in the mountains.
The suspect, Ioakimo Felise, was apprehended, cuffed, and transported to the Tafuna Substation for questioning.
The little girl told police that she made sexual contact with Felise five different times and the alleged acts always took place after school, at the same location.
According to her, their first sexual encounter occurred in the early part of last month.
The court affidavit notes that the little girl told police every time after Felise allegedly raped her, he would give her money. Altogether, she was given a total of $100.70.
She further told police that she did not want to have sex with the man but he forced himself on her and she couldn't do anything to stop him.
Regarding the incident that occurred this past Tuesday, the same day the two females flagged down the police unit, the victim told police she met up with Felise at the same spot where he allegedly performed the same sexual acts on her.
When confronted by police, Felise waived his rights and agreed to provide both a verbal and written statement.
Felise allegedly echoed the young girl’s statements and added that he first met the girl in the early part of last month, during which time he told her to come with him to the dirt road leading up to the mountains in Nu’uuli.
He allegedly told police that when they reached to the top of the mountain, he raped the girl before giving her lunch money.
Felise allegedly told police the sexual encounters took place 3 times last month and twice this month, and every time afterwards, he always gave her money to buy lunch at school.
The court affidavit noted that during questioning, police smelled a strong odor of alcohol emitting from Felise's breath.
Felise is set to appear this morning for a preliminary examination (PX) in District Court.
Samoa News points out that Felise is a familiar face at the Fagatogo Marketplace, where he sells numbers for the weekly "Ponesi".
This is not the first time Felise has appeared in court to face charges of this nature.
According to Samoa News archives, in November 2011, Felise was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment as a condition of a five-year probation term, after he was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse.
He was initially charged with one count each of child molestation and deviate sexual assault; but under a plea agreement with the government he pled guilty to deviate sexual assault, a class D felony.
The victim in that case was also a 10-year-old girl, who told police Felise grabbed her and pulled her under the steps of a guesthouse where he proceeded to fulfill his sexual desires.
Felise stopped and fled the scene after another man called out to him, according to court documents.
The government’s attorney at the time recommended that Felise depart the territory after serving the required jail term. However, she said the government was unclear on Felise's immigration status.
Samoa News understands a question concerning his citizenship — whether he was born here in the territory or in neighboring Samoa — was part of the query of the court about his immigration status.