15 Oct 2018

Former American Samoa detention centre guards sentenced

12:45 pm on 15 October 2018

Two ex guards at the Juvenile Detention Center in American Samoa Alofagia have been sentenced to 10 year jail terms for crimes they committed while working at the detention facility.

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Photo: 123rf

Alofagia Letuli and Olafou Wilson were charged for illegal activities including soliciting money from the parents of detainees saying the detainees needed to buy necessities but instead used the money to buy drugs.

The pair also exposed detainees to pornographic videos, and locked juveniles in cells while they spent time with people who entered the compound.

The two entered plea agreements with the government in which all except two of the charges were dropped.

Letuli pled guilty to one count of possession of ice and aiding an escape while Wilson pled guilty to possession of ice and stealing.

As part of the plea deals they provided testimony in the jury trial of a third colleague Okesene Alo, who faced the most charges in the cases.

Their testimony helped convict Alo.

Chief Justice Michael Kruse said during sentencing that it was sad that the culture of corruption which has existed in the adult detention centre has now permeated the facility where children are kept for behavioural change purposes.

He said the government must make institutional changes to change this culture.

The Chief Justice noted that everywhere else the prison is a separate entity from the police.