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Man from Samoa pleads guilty to sexually abusing his neighbor, 16

American Samoa District Court building


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A 38-year-old man from Samoa accused of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl has entered into a plea agreement with the government.

Michael Manuele, who told the court that he came to the territory to work as a carpenter, was initially charged with one count each of rape and sodomy; and three counts of first degree sexual abuse. He has agreed to plead guilty to first degree sexual abuse under a plea agreement. In return, the remaining charges are dismissed.

Manuele admits that on the night of Dec. 30, 2018, he touched the breast of his 16-year-old neighbor, for the purpose of arousing and gratifying his sexual desires.

According to him, on the day in question, he entered the girl’s home and found her lying on the couch in the living room. And that’s when he touched her inappropriately.

Attorneys for both sides agreed that they would recommend to the court a probated sentence without any additional jail time.

Prosecuting the case is Laura Garvey while Assistant Public Defender Ryan Anderson is representing Manuele, who is still in custody unable to post a $20,000 surety bond.

Sentencing is May 7, 2020.