A Primary School teacher who offered a young female student $3 and $4 amounts of money to lure her for sex, has been sentenced to jail for 13 years.
The decision was handed down by Supreme Court Justice Mata Keli Tuatagaloa yesterday afternoon.
Efeso Pati Masina, 39, from the villages of Falefa and Asau, Savai’i, was teaching at a church school when the incidents took place.
He was found guilty by a panel of assessor on one count of rape and five counts of sexual connection with a girl under 16 years old at the beginning of the month.
Prosecution was Fatumanavaupolu Ofisa Tagaloa of the Attorney General’s Office while defense counsel was Alex Su’a.
In handing down her sentencing yesterday Justice Mata sent out a strong message to the defendant as well as others who commit similar offences.
“You were a teacher and you took advantage of your position as a teacher towards the victim,” said Justice Mata.
“You also took advantage of the parent’s trust that was put in you to protect their children while they were under your care during school hours.
“The younger the victims are, the heftier the penalty by the court is.”
In reading out the aggravating features, Justice Mata took into account the age difference between the victim and the defendant.
“You are 26 years older than the victim,” she said.
“[And] because of your actions towards her, she no longer attends school.
“This was also confirmed by her mother during her testimony.
She told the court that her daughter feels too ashamed to go back to school, As a mother, she has tried so hard to take her daughter back to school but her daughter refuses to go.
“The victim said she feels too ashamed to go anywhere even within her own village and especially back to school."