Former Pastor pleads guilty to sex charges

A former Church Minister has pleaded guilty to ten sex charges in relation to 16-year-old girl who was under his care.

Tugia Tuliau, who had previously pastored a Methodist Church at Satalo Falealili, entered his guilty plea through his lawyer, Lei'ataualesa Komisi Koria, on Monday.

The 51-year-old from Tafagamanu and Safotu is facing eight counts of sexual conduct with a family member, one count of performing an indecent act on a dependent family member and one charge of sexual violation. 

Tuliau allegedly committed the sexual offence on three separate occasions in September while he was pastoring the Methodist church at Satalo.

The complainant in the matter is a 16-year-old who lived at the defendant’s home while he was serving the village. 

Presiding is Supreme Court Judge, Justice Leiautalesa Daryl Clarke. 

Attorney General’s Office lawyer and prosecutor, Fuifui Ioane, requested if sentencing for Tuliau could be deferred until sometime in January next year. 

She explained the office is engaged in a training and will not be ready until next year to file a sentence submission. 

The defence lawyer did not oppose the application.

Justice Leiataualesa then adjourned the matter until 17 January 2020 for a pre-sentence report, probation and victim impact report. 

Tuliau is remanded on bail and is prohibited from entering Falealili or contacting the complainant in the matter.  

The accused was stripped off his pastoral duties and title following an internal investigation from the Methodist church in relation to the alleged offending. 

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