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Uncle accused of sexual abuse requests jury trial

American Samoa High Court building

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A man accused of allegedly inappropriately touching his 16-year old niece will fight the allegations against him at trial.

Samoa News is withholding the name of the defendant to protect the identity of the victim.  

According to the government’s case, the victim told police that since that day back in December of last year, the defendant continued to touch her in the same sexual manner until February this year, the government alleges.

The victim eventually reported the matter to her school counselor, who questioned her about a prolonged absence from school.

The defendant is charged with one count each of sodomy — a class B felony punishable by five to 15 years; deviate sexual assault, a class C felony, punishable by up to seven years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both; and sexual abuse in the first degree, a class D felony, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine or both.

The uncle is also charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to one year, a fine of $1,000 or both.

This matter was called for a pre-trial conference and the defense attorney informed the court they have yet to come to a resolution on this matter and they are moving to have this case go forward to trial. He told the court that they received discovery from the government and its plea offer however, they were unable to resolve the case.

The defendant, who has been in custody since his arrest, is being held on $20,000 bail.