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Man admits to sexually abusing his best friend's 16-yr-old daughter

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 35-year-old man accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl has pled guilty.

Mapu Tagaloa, who is out on a $10,000 surety bond, appeared in High Court last week for a Change of Plea hearing.

Assistant Public Defender Rob McNeill represents Tagaloa, while prosecuting the case is Assistant Attorney General Laura Garvey.

Tagaloa was initially charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, both class D felonies; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.

But under a plea agreement with the government — accepted by the High Court — Tagaloa pled guilty to one charge of first degree sexual abuse. The remaining charges were dismissed.

With his guilty plea, Tagaloa admits that on Apr. 16, 2018, he touched the breast of a 16-year-old girl with the intent to arouse his sexual desire.

According to the plea agreement, the victim’s mother reported the incident to authorities after she found out that the family’s neighbor and her husband’s best friend had sexually assaulted her daughter.

The victim told police that Tagaloa had entered her room at night and sexually assaulted her by touching her chest, thigh, and private parts.

There was a second encounter two weeks later.

During the second encounter, Tagaloa, who was intoxicated, entered the girl's room at night, and did the same thing to her while she was sleeping.

The victim told her mom what happened and authorities were notified immediately.

When questioned by police, the victim, in the presence of her parents, told police that Tagaloa gave her money to buy clothes and food. She added that the defendant also bought her a new phone so they could communicate; however, somebody took the phone from her school bag.

The defense is recommending that the court sentence for Tagaloa be probation, with no jail term.

Tagaloa will be sentenced July 12, 2019