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Man arrested, facing sex charge over school girl incident

Police have arrested a 27-year-old male who is facing sex-related charges involving a young school girl.

The arrest was confirmed by the Deputy Police and Prisons Commissioner, Papali'i Monalisa Tiai–Keti, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer.

According to the preliminary findings of a Police investigation, the alleged victim who is a minor, was lured by the defendant through social connection on Facebook. 

“The defendant has been charged for sexual violation,” she stated. 

Papali'i added that the incident occurred between the  24 to 28 May 2020.

“Due to the age of the victim and nature of offence, the identity of both the victim and defendant remains confidential," she said.

“The defendant has been charged and remanded in custody until 29th June 2020 for Court mention.”

The Deputy Police and Prisons Commissioner then advised parents to monitor activities of their children on social media.

“We believe that open communication between parents and their children will hopefully allow them to share with their parents suspicious activities that they may come across on social media," she said.

“All parents, guardians and our community through media platforms must work together to eliminate online grooming and luring of young and vulnerable victims, online bullying and online sharing of materials that are considered violent and socially inappropriate.”

A child protection agency has also warned against children’s excessive usage of social media. 

The Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) has previously called on all parents and guardians to take extra precaution on the children heavily accessing social media during these times of lockdown. 

The warning was made following various incidences affecting children due to their excessive usage of the social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.

The S.V.S.G. President, Siliniu Lina Chang has also called on the parents and guardians to look out for the children.

“We might be free from COVID-19, but our children are at risk of mental health problems due to their heavily accessing the social media unsupervised,” she said.

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