66-year-old man accused of sexual abuse wants to go to trial
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 66-year-old man from Vatia accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl is asking the court to set his case for trial.
To protect the identity of the victim, Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant.
The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest, unable to post a $50,000 bond appeared in High Court last week for his status hearing. When his case was called, the government’s attorney, Assistant Attorney General Kristine Soule said the government has already turned over discovery and an offer to the defense side.
Defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson confirmed to the court that they received discovery and offer, however, after discussing terms of the offer with his client, the defendant decided to take his case to trial.
Trial is scheduled for 2026.
The defendant is charged with one count of child molesting, a class A felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than ten years nor more than thirty years; one count of sodomy, a class B felony punishable by a term of imprisonment for five to fifteen years; and 3 counts of 1st degree sexual abuse, a class D felony punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
The charge stems from an alleged incident that happened on Apr. 23, 2020 in Vatia where the defendant sexually abused the victim at the back of her house. The victim told investigators the defendant would meet her at the Samoan umu and there he would allegedly undress her and touch her inappropriately.