Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 29, 1999

H A W A I I _P R E P _ S P O R T S

Saint Louis
player had record,
teacher says

Affidavit claims administrators
knew of Tagoai's past

By Pat Bigold


St. Louis football player Tamotu Leuea Tagoai Jr., who faces criminal charges for allegedly threatening a teacher, had a criminal record in Seattle before moving to Hawaii, the teacher claims.

Gerilyn T. Corpuz said in an affidavit filed with her petition for a restraining order against Tagoai that the Rev. Mario Pariante, St. Louis president, and principal Burton Tomita told her Tagoai has "been in jail."

Tagoai denied ever being arrested before he was picked up by police March 4 on Corpuz' terroristic threatening charge.

Tagoai was questioned by the Star-Bulletin last Tuesday at District Court after Corpuz was granted a three-year restraining order against him. He said someone else was using his name in Seattle and that he wasn't in that city in 1995 and 1996, when the earlier crimes supposedly took place. "I was in Samoa," he said.

King County prosecutor records show that a Tamotu Leuea Tagoai with the same same birthdate as the St. Louis student -- Nov. 19, 1979 -- was charged with six crimes as a juvenile there between 1995 and 1996.

According to court records in Seattle, that person was convicted on three of four charges of auto theft. He also was convicted of second-degree robbery. He had a charge of assault in the fourth degree dismissed.

The defendant was sentenced to 24 hours of community service and five days detention as a result of the robbery conviction. For one of the car theft convictions, he was sentenced to 16 days detention and 48 hours of community service. For another car theft conviction, he received two days detention, three months of probation and was ordered to pay $3,995 in restitution.

Corpuz said the administration told her Tagoai had been in trouble after he allegedly threatened her after class on Feb. 8, when it was too late to prepare herself to deal with it.

Corpuz, who has since resigned at St. Louis, wrote in her petition for the restraining order: "Right after the incident, Father Pariante and Burton Tomita said, 'You know he's been in jail before.' It scared me even more and I wondered why I hadn't been told."

The Star-Bulletin talked with football coach Tom Burggraff and a counselor at West Seattle High School who said a Tamotu Leuea Tagoai attended and played football there until his sophomore year.

Tagoai claimed to have attended a different school, Stadium High School in the Tacoma school district. A check with that school district found a Tamotu Tagoai, born in April 1979, attended Henry Foss High School and graduated in 1997.

The St. Louis administration hasn't responded to numerous requests for information on the matter.

Tagoai is to be arraigned tomorrow in District Court on the threatening charge.

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