5 Jun 2013

American Samoa man pleads not guilty to sex charges

11:01 am on 5 June 2013

A man in American Samoa facing multiple sex assault charges involving two adult women and a 15-year girl, has pleaded not guilty.

Hanipale Malae, who remains in custody was arraigned yesterday in the High Court where his attorney entered a plea of not guilty to 12 criminal charges that includes rape, sodomy, sexual assault and sexual abuse.

The three victims are from Samoa's island of Savai'i and were brought to the territory by the defendant as house-girls for his home on Ofu island in the territory's Manu'a island group.

The three women remain in protective custody.

Court documents says the case only surfaced when the 27-year old victim ran away after the defendant allegedly beat her.