The court is taking under advisement a decision in the case between the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa’s (CCCAS) Council of Reverend Elders and its relieved General Secretary, Rev. Amaama Tofaeono.
The CCCAS is taking the former General Secretary to court after he refused to leave the church residence where he and his family have been staying.
Judge Elvis Pates heard last week the case between the CCCAS Council of Reverend Elders, represented by Attorney Gwen Tauiliili Langkilde and Rev. Tofaeono and his wife Joan Aleluia, represented by Counsel Toetasi Tuiteleleapaga.
The church relieved Rev. Tofaeono after a police report received by the Council of Rev. Elders stated that the reverend’s wife allegedly beat up a woman she suspected of having an affair with her husband.
The Council relieved Rev. Tofaeono from the position of General Secretary and stripped him of his minister privileges for 3 years while his wife, also an ordained minister, was stripped of her faletua title for a year.
Taking the witness stand, Rev. Tofaeono told the court that the Council of Rev. Elders doesn’t have any evidence on which to base their decision.
He said that in his attempt to expose and correct some of the problems and responsibilities according to the constitution, he was met with retaliation from the “toeaiina.”
The general secretary said he did not commit adultery, neither did he abuse his wife nor did he physically assault his daughter.
The former CCCAS General Secretary said that he rejected the council’s decision because it did not outline any specific reasons for their decision and it was not signed.
Rev. Elder Leatiulagi Faalevao, a witness for the CCCAS, provided contradictory testimony when questioned by both legal counsels if Rev. Tofaeono and his wife were given an opportunity to explain their side of the story before the decision was made.
Rev. Tofaeono had said he and his wife were not heard although they have exchanged several correspondence with the elders committee in regards to the matter.
Rev. Elder Faalevao testified that their decision was based on Rev. Tofaeono’s conversation with Rev. Elder Faaitete Saifoloi where they shared about the police report and the alleged beating incident where Mrs. Tofaeono is accused of assaulting a woman she suspected of having an affair with her husband.