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Man sent back from America faces 16 sex-related charges

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WANTED AND NOW FOUND: Vaiaoga Leatuvao.

A fugitive found in America and sent back to Samoa, accused of raping four students with special needs faces 16 charges in relation to the alleged incidents.


 
 
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Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Assistant Police Commissioner, Fauono Talalelei Tapu said Vaiaoga Leatuvao, 37, of Sala’ilua Savai’i, is in Police custody.

“He has been charged with sixteen counts of sexual offences against him,” said Fauono.

“The charges are in relation to separate (alleged) incidents involving deaf girls.”

According to Fauono, Leatuvao was a sign language interpreter for one of the special needs schools in Upolu.

Fauono explained that the man was issued with a warrant of arrest when he failure to appear in the Supreme Court in July 2013.

“It wasn’t until then that the police found that he had left the country,” said Fauono.

Fauono said Leatuvao could face additional charges for failing to appear in Court last year.

According to information provided by the United States government, Leatuvao, went to America on a six-month visitor's visa in September 2012.

In July 2013, the Samoan government charged Leatuvao with raping four female students at a Samoan school for disabled children.

Leatuvao, who was still in Seattle on the now-expired visa, was arrested last August for immigration violations.

He was sent back from Sea-Tac Airport, escorted by two United States government agents. Earlier this month, Attorney General, Aumua Ming Leung Wai, confirmed that Leatuvao had been wanted by the local authorities.

Aumua, however, was reluctant to reveal the man’s identity, citing “the protection of the victims.”

“All information regarding the victims or any information that could lead to the identification of the victims cannot be released,” he said.

But “the said male had left Samoa” several years ago.

Since then, “the Office of the Attorney General with the Samoan Police had worked with relevant United States authorities for the return of this male.”

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