General Crime

* Satu Diaz Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Child Abuse 56-Year-Old Faasese Fiu, Is Still Awaiting Trial

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A Contra Costa County Superior Court judge in Martinez sentenced a San Pablo woman to four years in prison today for abusing three children in her care.Satu Diaz, 34, pleaded no contest Aug. 5 to three counts of child abuse and one allegation of causing great bodily injury to a child.Diaz’s mother and co-defendant in the case, 56-year-old Faasese Fiu, is still awaiting trial. She has pleaded not guilty to three counts of torture, three counts of child abuse and three counts of inflicting corporal injury on a child.If convicted of all the charges, Fiu could be sentenced to seven years to life in prison, Deputy District Attorney Satish Jallepalli said.The children, a 14-year-old girl and her 11-year-old twin brothers, were sent from Samoa to live with Fiu and Diaz at their home in the 2500 block of 22nd Street in San Pablo in March 2007 after their parents divorced, according to San Pablo police Lt. Kenneth Bays.Their mother had allegedly fled to a different island and their father sent the children to live with Fiu, his mother, Bays said.During testimony in a preliminary hearing, the three children described the abuse they allegedly endured for two years at the hands of Fiu and Diaz. They said they had not been fed regularly and had been forced to stand in the sun in the backyard all day, every day because Fiu allegedly wanted them to turn black.They said they were beaten with sticks, spoons and a gray rubber bar like the ones used to separate items at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. checkout counters.One of the boys said that on one occasion he was hit on the head so hard that he blacked out. Both boys claimed that they were frequently hit hard enough that their heads would bleed and the girl said that Fiu pulled out clumps of her hair.The girl said that she and her brothers were forced to bathe with a hose in the backyard and were not allowed to use the bathroom without permission. They were allegedly beaten if they asked to use the bathroom and were beaten if they were caught using it without permission.The girl alleged that Fiu sometimes wrapped their hands in tape at night to prevent them from stealing food.All three children alleged that Fiu had forced the two boys to
drink their own urine and to rub feces on their faces. The children were never enrolled in school in California and never taken to a doctor, even when one of the boys developed an ulcer on his foot.The three siblings escaped from the backyard March 26 and a woman who worked at a nearby nightclub saw them and called police.Police said the children had old and new bruises and scars covering their bodies, and that their ankles were swollen from prolonged standing. Fiu’s attorney Shara Davis has argued that the testimony given by the three children was inconsistent and that some of what they said, including an allegation that they were fed Top Ramen noodles only once a week, could not possibly be true.She also pointed out that the children had admitted that many of the scars on their bodies came from incidents that happened in Samoa, before they came to live in San Pablo.

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