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Judge orders fugitive teacher held without bail on sex charges

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    Tone Pulou appears in state Circuit Court this morning during an extradition hearing to determine his return to American Samoa to face rape charges.


A 26-year-old American Samoa elementary teacher accused of raping a 13-year-old girl is being held without bail until he can be extradited to the South Pacific territory.

Circuit Judge Steven Alm this morning said the state of Hawaii has until Nov. 3 to return Tone Pulou to American Samoa to face charges of rape, first-degree sexual assault, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Pulou, who has been in the islands since Friday, was arrested Wednesday night by the FBI at the McDonald’s restaurant at 4725 Bougainville Drive.

Deputy Public Defender Ronette Kawakami asked that Pulou’s bail be set at $50,000, citing that he has family in Waianae.

However, Alm agreed with the request by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Janice Futa and attorney general of American Samoa that Pulou be held without bail until he is returned to American Samoa.

According to the arrest affidavit, Pulou allegedly had a relationship with the girl from September 2009 through February 2010 while working at Alofau Elementary School and she became pregnant. Medical staff notified social workers after her mother brought the girl, when she was 14, to a hospital to see an obstetrician.

In a brief interview from jail, Pulou told The Associated Press that the relationship was consensual and that he wants to go home to face the charges.

He’s been wanted since last August, when authorities say he fled to Australia. FBI spokesman Tom Simon says he arrived in Oahu on Friday and had been staying with friends in Waianae. Simon said Pulou was traveling under his name and authorities were alerted to his presence.

The Attorney General’s Office in American Samoa was informed Wednesday night of Pulou’s arrest, Assistant Attorney General Mitzie Jessop Folau said.


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