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Man ordered to register as a sex offender after conviction for inappropriate touching

Sex offender registry website

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The man who spent 9 months in jail for touching a woman inappropriately is a free man now.

Taavili Malaki was released from the Territorial Correctional Facility (TCF) last week, following his sentencing by the High Court.

Malaki was initially charged with attempted rape and 1st degree sexual abuse, both class C felonies, punishable by a jail term of not more than 7 years, a fine of $5,000, or both.

Under a plea agreement with the government, Malaki pled guilty to the amended charge of attempted sexual abuse in the 2nd degree, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

With his guilty plea, Malaki admits that on Feb. 17, 2021 he touched a woman inappropriately, without her consent, to arouse and gratify his sexual desires.

During sentencing, his defense attorney asked the court for a probated sentence, saying that his client has served almost 12 months in prison.

Despite a request from the government’s attorney for Malaki to register as a sex offender as a condition of his probation, the defense attorney told the court that his client should not be ordered to register as a sex offender. Not only was he convicted of a misdemeanor — the victim was a woman, not a minor child.

The court did not agree. The court told the defense attorney that the statute is clear, whether a misdemeanor or a felony, once a person is convicted for any sexual violation he or she has to register as a sex offender.

“Your client has to register as a sex offender,” the court told the defense attorney.

Malaki was sentenced to a term of probation of one year. As a condition of his probated sentence, he was ordered to serve a period of detention of 6 months, he was credited for the 8 months he served while detained in prison to await the outcome of his case.

Malaki was ordered to register as a sex offender, and he has to remain abiding law throughout the period of probation.