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Man pleads down from attempted rape to attempted felonious restraint

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 40-year-old man convicted in High Court for attempted felonious restraint is ordered to serve 20 months behind bars, as part of a 5-year probation sentence.

Amia Finauga was initially charged with attempted rape, first-degree sexual abuse, and attempted felonious restraint — all felonies. But under a plea agreement with the government, the defendant pled guilty to attempted felonious restraint. The remaining charges were dismissed.

According to the government, the victim is a 16-year-old girl whose family rents an apartment in the same location where the defendant and his family live. The victim and the defendant’s family share the same bathroom and kitchen.

 Sometime at the beginning of 2020 when the victim went to the bathroom, the defendant followed her and tried to touch her inappropriately. He also attempted to restrain her, in order to have his way.

During sentencing last week, Finauga apologized for his actions and begged for a second chance to return home to care for his family. He told the Court that he is truly remorseful and he assured the judge that he will never break any laws again, saying if he is given another chance, he will do everything to change his life and look for a job, so he can pay restitution.

The defense attorney said he believes his client is truly remorseful. He said everyone is affected by his client's action — not only the victim and her family, but his family as well. He asked the court to sentence Finauga to probation, and use the 22 months he has already served in pretrial confinement as the jail term for this case.

The prosecutor said Finauga is a suitable candidate for probation; but she reminded the court of the seriousness of his actions.

Prosecutor said the victim is lucky that nothing more serious happened that day. She said Finauga must be ordered to stay away from the victim and not try to contact her or her family at any time.

The court told Finauga that the court never takes lightly any cases that involve minors, especially when they are sexually assaulted. He noted that although this was Finauga’s first conviction in High Court, he has a criminal a record in District Court (misdemeanor convictions).

The defendant was sentenced to five years in jail; however, execution of the sentence was suspended and he was placed on five years probation on the condition that he serves 20 months at the TCF. He is credited for the 22 months of pretrial confinement so he was released last week.

 He was also ordered to register as a sex offender and submit himself to HIV testing, as required by law. He is not to make any contact with the victim and her family, nor is he to confront her at any time or place. He is also not to congregate with children under 16 years.