Woman arrested for allegedly abusing her child and assaulting an elderly woman
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A young mother accused of abusing her young child before she turned around and allegedly assaulted an elderly woman who reported the child abuse incident to police two years ago is now in custody after she was arrested last week pursuant to an arrest warrant from the court.
According to the government’s case, the child abuse incident allegedly happened on July 9, 2018 while the assault on the elderly woman happened on July 20, 2018.
(Samoa News has chosen to not identify the mother of the 9-year-old child due to the age of child, as per our usual protocol.)
The mother was served with a copy of the arrest warrant when she turned up at the District Court on a personal matter and was immediately brought into the court room for a speedy hearing. Her case was then continued until the next morning.
The next morning, the defendant made her initial appearance where the government’s attorney informed the court that they filed two separate cases against her.
In the first case, the mother 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.
Bail is set at $25,000.
During her initial appearance the mother chose to exercise her rights to a preliminary examination (PX).
CHILD ABUSE CASE
On July 09th, 2018, the Tafuna Police Substation (TPS) received a call from an elderly woman asking for assistance regarding a 9-year-old being assaulted and abused by his biological mother.
Several police officers responded to the call and interviewed the elderly woman who reported the case, before they went to interview the mother of the 9-year-old.
The elderly woman told police that the 9-year-old boy and his family lived across the street from her house. On the day in question she heard the young boy screaming for help while his mother (defendant) was beating him up.
Later on that day, the elderly woman saw scratches and swellings on the young boy’s body. She immediately contacted police to report the incident.
Police were able to pick up the mother for questioning regarding the incident. During the interview, investigators informed the mother that she was not under arrest and she could leave at any time she wants.
The mother admitted to investigators that she beat her son so badly because she was very upset with him for disobeying her instructions. She had instructed her son (victim) to stay at the house to look after her young children while she went to do her chores. However when she returned home, her young children were all outside of the house while her son (victim) was at their neighbor’s house.
The mother told police that she used a broom handle to beat up her son causing swellings and scratches on his body.
ASSAULT CASE AGAINST AN ELDERLY WOMAN
The government claims that on July 20th, the TBS received a call from an elderly woman in Nu’uuli asking for police assistance after she was allegedly assaulted by a young woman. The young woman who allegedly assaulted the elderly woman was later identified as the mother, the defendant in this case.
Several police officers responded to the call and met up with the victim at her house. When officers arrived at the victim’s house, they witnessed the victim sitting inside her house shaking and crying. Officers also observed that the victim’s face was swollen and had scratches.
The victim told officers that she was assaulted by the defendant. Officers tried to locate the defendant on that day but were unsuccessful.
According to the victim’s statement to officers, she was taking a shower — the shower is located outside of her house and she was alarmed when the suspect forcibly entered the shower and immediately assaulted her by pulling her hair and punching her in the facial area multiple times.
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 the shower’s wall multiple times before she choked her neck for awhile, at the same she was asking her about why she reported the incident to the police.
The government stated that while the defendant was assaulting the victim, the victim was calling out for help. The defendant also told the victim that “you see what I’m going to do to you.”
The government’s only witness during the PX last week was the lead investigator in this matter. In her testimony, Sgt. Devon Mata’u said that the alleged assault on the elderly woman occurred after she reported the child abuse case against the defendant to authorities.
The government witness stated that the defendant entered the outside shower uninvited and allegedly assaulted the victim while the victim was taking a shower. The witness further stated that during the alleged assault, the defendant choked the victim for about 10 minutes while the victim was screaming for help.
During the cross examination, defense attorney, Stuart asked the witness to explain to the court the main reason why his client allegedly assaulted the victim. The witness stated that during the course of her investigation, it was clear that the defendant was mad when the victim called police and informed them about the incident where she (defendant) assaulted her son using a broom handle.
Stuart asked the witness if she knows that the victim is his client’s husband’s aunt. The witness replied, “no”.
The witness further stated that the outside shower where the alleged assault took place is not a public shower where anybody including the defendant can access. The outside shower belongs to the victim and her family only.
After hearing all evidence of the case, the court found probable cause to bind the mother’s (defendant) case over to High Court for arraignment.
Immediately after Acting Associate Justice Elvis P. Patea bound the defendant’s case over to High Court, defense attorney Stuart asked the court to reduce his client’s bail to $10,000. It was denied by the court. Patea said that bail is reasonable and the defense can take up their argument for a bail reduction before the High Court.
The defendant appeared in High Court yesterday morning where she entered a not guilty plea to all the charges.
Pretrial conference is July 20th.