Uncle accused of sexually abusing his niece
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 46-year-old man accused of sexually abusing his 16-year-old niece was arrested after authorities were tipped off by the victim’s aunt.
(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 last month (Dec. 2021). 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 $35,000 and a pretrial conference is set for Mar. 26.
It was the victim’s aunt (victim’s father’s sister) who notified police about the alleged abuse. According to the government, the defendant and the mother of the victim are first cousins.
The victim’s aunt told police that her niece was seen at the defendant’s house two months ago and when she asked what she was doing there, the girl said her uncle (defendant) asked her to come over and look after his two-year-old child because it had been one week since his wife was admitted to LBJ Hospital for the flu.
The aunt recalled that in March 2021, her niece called and asked if she could pick her up. The woman said she and her eldest daughter took the victim to their house, where she opened up to them about what her uncle did to her one night in February and another night in March. According to what the victim told her aunt, the defendant sexually abused her twice but she was afraid to tell anyone because her uncle threatened to kill her if she told anybody what allegedly happened between them.
The victim provided a written statement in Samoan to police.
According to her, the first alleged incident happened in the second week of February 2021 when she was at her uncle’s house to look after his two-year-old because he was busy with other stuff at home. She said the first alleged incident occurred when she was taking a shower, and afterwards her uncle apologized to her and asked her to forgive him. He promised that it would not happen again. The victim accepted her uncle’s apology and told him that she would keep the incident to herself.
The second alleged incident occurred in March when the victim went back to the defendant’s house to help with the defendant’s children because her uncle was busy and there was no one to look after his two young children.
It was a Saturday afternoon, her aunt, the uncle’s wife was working at the time, and the defendant was drinking with another man outside of the house. The alleged incident took place in the kitchen, when the defendant asked the victim to fix him some food. She said in her statement that she was afraid because her uncle threatened her, saying that if she told anyone, he would beat her with a hose.
The victim told police that she shared her story with her uncle’s wife who also apologized on behalf of her husband and assured the victim that she would speak to the defendant.
When police were on their way to look for the defendant, the defendant was nowhere to be found. However, in mid-December, in the Tafuna area, two police officers were able to identify the defendant sitting at a bus stop. The defendant was immediately arrested and was transported to the TPS for questioning.
When questioned by police, the defendant allegedly admitted to sexual abuse of his niece, between February and March of 2021.
He told police that the devil tempted him to do the things he did to his niece, and he fell for it because he was under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol.