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Case against biological father accused of sexual abuse dismissed

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — After spending over 15 months behind bars on the allegation that he sexually abused his 13-year-old biological daughter in 2016, the defendant was released from custody yesterday morning after the court granted the government’s motion to dismiss the case against the father.

With tears in his eyes, the defendant shook his defense’s attorney’s hand and thanked him for handling his case.

The 40-year-old defendant from Samoa appeared before Associate Justice Fiti Sunia this past Tuesday morning for a status hearing. Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill represented the defendant while Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey prosecuted the case.

When the case was called, Garvey informed the court of the government’s motion to dismiss the case against the defendant.

As Garvey was trying to explain to the court the grounds for the motion to dismiss, Sunia immediately called both parties to the bench for a brief conference with the court.

After the brief conference, Sunia stated that after reviewing the motion presented by the government, the court would defer to the Attorney General’s prosecutorial discretion. Furthermore, the case against the defendant was dismissed with prejudice of the status limitation.


The defendant was charged with two counts of sexual abuse in the 1st degree, a class D felony, punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

The government alleged that in the beginning of 2019, a family member reported to police that the defendant allegedly sexually abused his biological daughter three years ago, which was 2016, while the victim was 13 years old by touching her in a sexual manner.

The defendant has maintained his innocence since the time of his arrest.

Outside the courthouse, the defendant told Samoa News that he thanked God for answering his prayers. He also thanked his family and church, especially to his wife and children for their prayers and support.