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Man sentenced for sexual relations with 12-year-old — 3 felony counts

[SN file photo]
Translated by Samoa News staff

The High Court has ordered Apelu Saito Lilo, convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 12-year-old girl, to depart American Samoa and return home to Samoa, upon serving his jail term at the Territorial Correctional Facility.

Lilo, 20, was initially charged with one count each of child molestation (the most serious of the charges), sodomy, and deviate sexual assault — all felonies.

However, under a plea agreement with the government (which was accepted by the High Court in May), the defendant pled guilty to deviate sexual assault and the other charges were dropped.

With the guilty plea, Lilo admits that sometime last April, he had sexual relations with a 12-year-old. At the time, Lilo was 19 years old.

Lilo was in court last week for sentencing where he read a prepared statement, in English, saying he was remorseful and promised to never commit this type of crime again.

He asked for a chance to be released from jail so he can return home to care for his parents, and also further his education for a better future.

Lilo’s attorney, Public Defender Douglas Fiaui pointed out that his client is still young, he is a first time offender, and he is remorseful for his actions.

Assistant Attorney General Gerald Murphy supported the recommendation for a probative sentence as noted in the Probation Office report, which also orders the defendant to depart the territory and return to his home country of Samoa.

Lilo’s departure, Murphy argued, will protect minor female children from being victims of such crimes in the future.

Deviate sexual assault is a class B felony, punishable by not more than 7 years imprisonment, or a fine of not more than $5,000- or both.

In the end, the Court imposed a sentence of 7 years imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. However, the prison term is suspended and Lilo is placed on 7 years probation, under several conditions, which includes a jail term of 28 months, with 13 months of pre-trial confinement being credited towards his sentence.

Upon release from the TCF, the court has ordered Lilo to depart the territory and remain outside of American Samoa for the remainder of his 7-year probation term.

Lilo was also ordered to get tested for HIV and to register as a sex offender, as required by law.