WASHINGTON— Siaumau Mapu, a former corrections officer at the Tafuna Correctional Facility in Pago Pago, American Samoa, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Honolulu to a felony civil rights charge and to making false statements to federal agents.
During his guilty plea, Mapu admitted that he abused his authority as a corrections officer when, in January 2003, he unnecessarily and repeatedly struck an inmate in the head. The inmate suffered permanent ear damage as a result of the beating. Mapu also pleaded guilty to making false statements in August 2003 to special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who were investigating another alleged assault at the same correctional facility.
Mapu faces a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.
“The overwhelming majority of correctional officers dispatch their difficult duties with honor and professionalism,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will aggressively prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal misconduct.”
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforcement of every federal criminal civil rights statute, such as laws that prohibit the willful use of excessive force or other acts of misconduct by law enforcement officials. In fiscal year 2006, nearly 50 percent of the cases brought by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division involved such prosecutions. Since fiscal year 2001, the Division has convicted 50 percent more defendants for excessive force and official misconduct than in the preceding six years.
Today’s plea resulted from the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Civil Rights Division attorneys Susan French and Jared Fishman handled the case for the Justice Department.