Teacher jailed for sexual misconduct against young boy
A 27-year-old Primary school teacher, who sexually abused a boy, begged the Court to give him another chance to teach so he could make some money to feed his family.
Fa’afetai Sola, of Tiavea, made the heartfelt plea before Justice Tafaoimalo Leilani Warren in the Supreme Court.
But convicted of having sexual conduct with a child under 12 years of age, Sola’s teaching career is over.
Lawyer, Muriel Lui, of the National Prosecution Office was the prosecutor.
The victim whose identity is suppressed was a 10-year-old student at the school where the teacher was working at the time.
According to the summary of facts, the incident occurred between 1st January and 31 May 2016.
The victim was standing alone in front of a storeroom when Sola grabbed him and took him into the teachers room. There he abused him sexually until other students knocked on the door.
When the accused unlocked the door, the victim returned to his classroom crying and told his friends about what happened.
Another schoolteacher questioned the victim and reported to the matter to Principal.
On the same day, the accused was arrested and charged by Police.
Justice Tafaoimalo said the teacher’s behaviour was unacceptable.
“The parents place their trust upon the teachers when they are at school. Students as well don’t expect to be sexually abused while at school,” said Justice Tafaoimalo.
“What you did was a gross abuse of trust.”
She said the victim is very young, and the younger the victim of the sexual abuse the greater the penalty should be.
She added that the offense was premeditated because he took him to the staff room and locked him inside together with the victim where he sexually abused him.
Justice Tafaoimalo reminded the accused that this offence carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, however the court took into account that he is remorseful.
The Court also noted that a traditional apology has been carried out by his family and was accepted.
The Court also considered his character references, coming from the village Pastor and the Village Mayor.
In sentencing, the Court took five years as a starting point.
From the five years, two and half years were deducted for Sola’s previously good character and his early guilty plea.
He was sentenced for two and half years in jail.